Astronaut alumnus to give keynote speech for University of North Dakota summer commencement

  • Updated: July 26, 2013 - 8:00 AM

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — This year's summer commencement at the University of North Dakota will be out of this world.

Astronaut and UND alumna Karen Nyberg will deliver the keynote speech from space. She is currently orbiting the Earth in the International Space Station, and NASA will deliver her recorded message.

Nyberg, a native of Vining, Minn., and a 1994 UND graduate, first traveled to the International Space Station aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 2008. She made her second journey on a Russian Soyuz capsule that blasted off from Kazakhstan in late May, carrying her and astronauts from Russia and Italy. She's to remain in space until late this year.

Nyberg is the first UND graduate to go into space, and the 50th woman to do so, according to the school. She gave several presentations at her alma mater during homecoming festivities in 2009, following her first venture to the space station. She also was given the Sioux Award, the highest honor bestowed by the UND alumni association.

About 520 students are eligible to graduate from UND during the Aug. 2 ceremony at the Chester Fritz Auditorium on the Grand Forks campus.

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