Astronaut and University of North Dakota alumna Karen Nyberg, who’s still orbiting the Earth in the International Space Station, will be the speaker at UND’s summer commencement Aug. 2, the university announced Thursday.
Her message has already been recorded and delivered by NASA to UND.
David Dodds, a university spokesman, said UND wanted to ensure there wouldn’t be any technical glitches on the big day.
Nyberg, who graduated summa cum laude from UND in 1994, first went into space in 2008 on the space shuttle Discovery, which was adding a new component to the space station. Her second trip began May 28, and she’s expected to stay at the space station until November.
She’s been keeping an eye on UND from space. On Wednesday, she wrote on her Twitter account: “CONGRATS to my alma mater @myUND being recognized today w/ JSC Certificate of Appreciation. UND Dept of Space Studies, 25 yrs strong!” That’s a reference to the distinguished service award NASA’s Johnson Space Center gave to UND’s Space Studies Department on Tuesday.
The space center is where Nyberg got her start, working as a student while earning her master’s degree at the University of Texas at Austin.
Nyberg, who hails from Vining, Minn., is the first UND alumna to launch into space, according to the university.