Mark Vande Hei to give address at SJU commencement ceremony

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April 26, 2019

Mark Vande Hei

Mark Vande Hei ’89

NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei ’89 will deliver the Saint John’s University commencement address at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 12, in Saint John's Abbey and University Church.

Vande Hei will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree.

Luke Olley, a graduating English major from Woodbury, Minnesota, will be the student commencement speaker, as selected by the Saint John's senior class.

The 2019 Saint John's graduation class includes 392 undergraduate men and 19 School of Theology and Seminary graduates.

After earning his physics degree from Saint John’s, Vande Hei was commissioned through ROTC and achieved the rank of colonel in the U.S. Army. He has a masters in applied physics from Stanford University. Vande Hei was one of just nine candidates selected from a pool of 3,500 applicants for the 2009 NASA astronaut class.

He served as flight engineer on the International Space Station from September 2017 through February 2018 (128 days) and completed four spacewalks during that time. A NASA Downlink to SJU allowed students to watch and talk with Vande Hei during his time in space.

His military service includes combat tours, numerous awards and a position as assistant professor of military science at the United States Military Academy, West Point, N.Y. Vande Hei has served and trained in many locations around the world.

Vande Hei was recognized with the 2014 Saint John’s Alumni Achievement Award.