NASA astronaut Richard Linnehan to address graduates at Commencement

Topics: College of Applied Sciences and Technology, Administrative

December 3, 2009

A veteran of four space shuttle flights, NASA astronaut Richard Linnehan will address Ball State University graduates during commencement exercises on Saturday, Dec. 19. Approximately 1,180 students will receive their degrees during the 10 a.m. ceremony in Worthen Arena on campus.

Having most recently participated in spaceship Endeavour's March 2008 mission, Linnehan has spent nearly 60 days in space and has made almost 1,000 orbits of Earth over the span of his 17-year NASA career with the Johnson Space Center. 

Linnehan has been a long-standing partner with and advocate for Ball State's Human Performance Laboratory. Their collaboration has resulted in valuable knowledge regarding the health and well-being of persons involved in space exploration. He also has visited Ball State's campus as a guest lecturer, teacher and researcher.

"We look forward to bestowing Dr. Linnehan with an honorary doctor of science degree in recognition of his impressive national and international professional achievements, his dedication for improving the lives of both humans and animals, and to honor his productive relationship with our faculty and students," said Ball State President Jo Ann M. Gora. 

A graduate from the University of New Hampshire, Linnehan earned his doctor of veterinary medicine degree from Ohio State University and received a master of public administration degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Human performance pioneer to be honored

Also highlighting the ceremony will be the awarding of the President's Medal of Distinction to Ball State's David Costill, a human performance pioneer and distinguished professor emeritus.

Costill is the founding director of Ball State's Human Performance Laboratory (HPL). Opened in 1965, the lab offers a variety of research, graduate study and service programs. HPL research has ranged from heart disease in aging men to performance of elite athletes and NASA astronauts on the space shuttle and International Space Station. 

Costill has been recognized by the American College of Sports Medicine with both the Honor and Citation Awards. He was the first recipient of the McClintock Award for Research and Ball State's Outstanding Researcher Award. He also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Exercise Physiologists and the Gatorade Sports Science Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award. 

He is the author of or co-author of more than 400 published peer-reviewed journal articles and six books, including "Running: The Athlete Within." He has served as a consultant to NASA, the U.S. Olympic Committee and the National Institutes of Health.

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