WTAMU Distinguished Lecture Series Welcomed Captain Mark Kelly

Jadeyn Arthur, Junior Reporter

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Captain Mark Kelly, NASA Space Mission Commander

West Texas A&M created the Distinguished Lecture Series in 2007 to enhance education in the classroom. By bringing in guest speakers with national prominence, WTAMU students are able to experience words of wisdom from people who have make significant changes in our world today. This opens the eyes for many students as to what all is achievable outside our little corner of the world.

On April 2, Captain Mark Kelly NASA Space commander and American hero gave his lecture “Endeavor to Succeed” in the First United Bank Center.

His life story is truly one of great integrity and perseverance. Kelly is a retired U.S. Navy combat pilot where he made two deployments in the First Gulf War, completing 39 combat missions in operation Desert Storm. Along with his military awards, the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, and two distinguished flying crosses, Kelly was selected to be an astronaut in the late 90’s.

His astronaut career began in 2001 and he made his final flight in 2011. Kelly’s place in history is most notably marked by his research efforts on the effects living in space can have on the human body. Kelly lived in the International Space station and has spent more than 50 days in space.  Mark Kelly’s identical twin brother, Scott Kelly also a retired U.S. Navy Capitan and astronaut served on a yearlong mission in space and wrote a New York Times best-selling Memoir titled, “Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery”. This makes the Kelly brothers the only siblings who have traveled in space.

After his endeavors in space, Kelly began committing his time to various organizations and his business, World View Enterprises, located in Tucson, Arizona. World View Enterprises is a full-service commercial space launch provider that sends hardware into “near-space” using high altitude balloons. Kelly also co-founded an awareness group with his wife, Gabby called “GIFFORDS”. After the tragic school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2013, Kelly took it upon himself to unite veterans, law enforcement officials, gun owners, faith leaders, and Americans of any background to reduce gun violence and make communities safer.

Through all his accomplishments and experiences, Kelly shared his foundation for success and some lessons learned along the way. Dr. Brian Ingrassia, Assistant Professor at WT and Head of the Distinguished Lecture Series Committee,  felt that Kelly’s presentation would be exciting for both students and community members. “Mark Kelly has a wealth of experiences,” Ingrassia said.“He has been a U.S. Navy flier and NASA astronaut, and even has participated in experiments judging the effects of living in outer space on the human body.”

There are several more Distinguished lecture series presentations hosted by various groups scheduled for this semester. More information can be found about upcoming lectures on the WTAMU website under the “About” column.

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