What are you looking for?

Home News 2016 Clark Atlanta University to Welcome First African-American Female Astronaut as 2016 Commencement Orator

Clark Atlanta University to Welcome First African-American Female Astronaut as 2016 Commencement Orator

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2016


Contact: Donna L. Brock

ATLANTA (May 5, 2016) –Clark Atlanta University (CAU) President Ronald A. Johnson will preside over the University’s 2016 Commencement Convocation Monday, May 16, at 8 a.m. in Panther Stadium.  The convocation orator will be Mae Jemison, M.D., the first African-American female to conduct a space mission.                  

The University also will award four doctoral degrees honoris causa during the ceremony.  For his prolific and enduring contributions to the music industry, the University will award the Doctor of Humane Letters degree honoris causa to alumnus Hamilton Bohannon, a 1964 graduate of Clark College.  For nearly half a century of arranging beloved choral music and preserving the history, heritage and musicology of compositions borne from and rooted in the African American tradition, the University will award the Doctor of Humane Letters degree honoris causa to Mr. Roland Carter. For more than 50 years of service to the nation and his representation of the 13th Congressional District of Michigan, the University will award the Doctor of Laws degree honoris causa to Congressman and Dean of the House of Representatives John Conyers. For his service representing the State of Georgia’s Fourth Congressional District, the University will present the Doctor of Laws degree honoris causa to alumnus and Congressman Hank Johnson, a 1976 graduate of CAU’s parent institution, Clark College. 

Jemison, a physician and engineer, became a household name in 1992 when she completed NASA’s STS-47 Spacelab (Japan) Mission, making her the first woman of color in the world to travel into space and the first science mission specialist performing materials and life science experiments in weightlessness.  Since leaving NASA, she has devoted her considerable intellect and energies toward educational, entrepreneurial and social concerns.  She is the founder of the Jemison Group, which integrates the critical impact of socio-cultural concerns into the design and implementation of technologies, as well as the nonprofit Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence and The Earth We ShareTM International Science Camp.  She currently leads 100 Year Starship, funded by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, to ensure that human space travel to another star is possible within the next 100 years.

Jemison earned the B.S. degree in chemical engineering and fulfilled the requirements for the A.B. degree in African- and Afro-American studies from Stanford University.  She earned the M.D. degree from Cornell University.  Prior to her service with NASA, she served as a general practice physician in Los Angeles, Calif., and area Peace Corps medical officer in Sierra Leone, West Africa.  She also has served in a Cambodian refugee camp and with the Flying Doctors of East Africa.

At Dartmouth College, Jemison served as an environmental studies professor.  She also ran The Jemison Institute for Advancing Technologies in Developing Countries, and served as A.D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University.

Jemison is a member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine and is on the Board of Directors of Kimberly-Clark Corp., Scholastic Inc., the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering and Valspar Corp.  She serves on the Board of Texas Medical Center, and served as chair of the Texas State Product Development and Small Business Incubator Board. She is an inductee of National Women’s Hall of Fame, the National Medical Association Hall of Fame and the Texas Science Hall of Fame. Among her many honors, awards and honorary degrees, she received the National Organization for Women’s Intrepid Award, the Kilby Science Award and in 1999 was selected as one of the top seven women leaders in a presidential ballot national straw poll.  An in-demand motivational speaker and commentator, she currently residents in Houston, Texas.

For more information on Clark Atlanta University’s 2016 commencement.
Category: Staff, Alumni, Administration, Students, Faculty
Keywords: Commencement, Mae Jemison