International Space University Closing Ceremony Held

The guest speaker at this year’s International Space University graduation ceemony was NASA Adminstrator Charles Bolden. Photo Credit: Julian Leek / Blue Sawtooth Studios

After an intensive nine-week course designed for post-graduate university students, a ceremony was held to mark the completion of this year’s International Space University (ISU). This year marked the 25th anniversary of the International Space University’s (ISU) Space Studies Program.  The closing graduation ceremony was held on Aug. 3, 2012 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center‘s Visitor Complex followed by a reception at the Apollo/Saturn V Center. 

The ISU’s headquarters are located in Strasbourg France but the ISO hosts its summer session in a different country each year. This year’s session was co-hosted by the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) and Kennedy Space Center (KSC) bringing together the largest class to date, with 134 students from thirty-one countries and taking some two-and-half years to arrange. Next year Brazil will be the host country.

John Conley, the class speaker for the 2012 International Space University, addresses those in attendance during this year’s graduation ceremonies held at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Photo Credit: Julian Leek / Blue Sawtooth Studios

The guest speaker of the evening was NASA Administrator Charles Bolden who stated he was “excited” to have the 25th ISU here at KSC.

He told this year’s graduates  that the ‘The International Space Station is the most advanced technical thing around, the second most advanced thing is the space shuttle, I cannot show you the space station – but you can see the second most advanced here at KSC.”

Bolden worked to assure those in attendance that the historic region will remain at the forefront of space exploration.

“The road to space will always be through the great state of Florida,” Bolden said.

After congratulating the students he told them space exploration is vital to this planets survival. Highlighting that the Curiosity rover, recently arrived on the planet Mars, can stand in for a lot of what ISU means to space exploration. He went on to state that the rover is a great example of how science and exploration can support one another.

John Conley  was selected as Class Speaker for SSP12 telling his fellow students:

“Together we will build an incredible future, it’s an amazing time to be alive.”

Conley stated that he always felt that there was something missing from phrase ‘ad Astra (to the stars in Latin). He elaborated by saying that since weall come from the stars that the saying should actually be “return to the stars.”

He closed by saying that the members, upon returning to their respective countries, turn to their neighbors and in their native language say that we should ‘return to the stars.’ This statement garnered Conley the only standing ovation of the evening.

Left-to-right: Space Studies Program Dean Angie Buckley, graduate student Tigran Shahverdyan from Moscow, Russia and SSP12 Director Gary Martin. Photo Credit: Julian Leek / Blue Sawtooth Studios
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