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New Mexico State University

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Apollo astronaut Schmitt to be honored at commencement

Geologist and former Apollo astronaut Harrison Hagan Schmitt will receive an honorary doctorate at New Mexico State University's spring commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 15.



Geologist and former Apollo astronaut Harrison Hagan Schmitt will receive an honorary doctorate at New Mexico State University's spring commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 15. (Courtesy photo)


Schmitt will speak at both of the two ceremonies scheduled. The first ceremony begins at 10 a.m. at the Pan American Center. Graduates of the colleges of Agriculture and Home Economics, Business Administration and Economics and Engineering, including graduate students receiving degrees from those colleges, will participate in the morning ceremony.

The second ceremony is scheduled for 2 p.m. in the Pan American Center. Graduates of the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Education and Health and Social Services, including graduate students receiving degrees from those colleges, will participate in this ceremony.

More than 1,800 students are candidates for degrees and more than 1,000 will participate in commencement ceremonies. Tickets are not required. The Pan Am Center will open an hour before each ceremony.

Schmitt is being honored for the inspirational example he has set as a successful geologist, pilot, Apollo astronaut, and businessman; for his service as a member of the U.S. Senate; and for his leadership on policy issues regarding space and the American Southwest.

The native of Silver City, N.M., was selected for the Scientist-Astronaut program in 1965. He organized the science training for the Apollo Astronauts, managed much of the development of hardware and procedures for the lunar surface exploration, and oversaw the final preparation of the Apollo Lunar Module Descent Stage. He was designated mission scientist for the Apollo 11 mission. After training as back-up Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 15, Schmitt served in this position on Apollo 17 - the last Apollo mission to the moon. On Dec. 11, 1972, he landed in the Valley of Taurus-Littrow as the only scientist and the last of 12 men to step on the moon.

Schmitt studied at Caltech, as a Fulbright Scholar at Oslo, and at Harvard, where he received his Ph.D. in geology in 1964 based on field studies in Norway. As a civilian, Schmitt received Air Force jet pilot wings in 1965 and Navy helicopter wings in 1967.

After two years managing NASA's Energy Program Office, Schmitt fulfilled a long-standing personal commitment by running for the U.S. Senate in 1976. He served in the U.S. Senate from 1977 to 1982 representing his home state of New Mexico. Schmitt served on the Senate Commerce, Banking, Appropriations, Intelligence and Ethics committees. In his last two years in the Senate, he was chairman of the Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space and of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. He later served on President Ronald Reagan's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and President George H.W. Bush's Commission on Ethics Law Reform.

Today, Schmitt consults, speaks and writes on policy issues of the future, space and the American Southwest. He is a director of the University of New Mexico Foundation and a member of the UNM School of Engineering's Board of Visitors. He is chairman emeritus of The Annapolis Center and is an adjunct professor in the Department of Engineering at the University of Wisconsin, where he teaches "Resources from Space."

Schmitt has served as a member of the Independent Strategic Assessment Group for the U.S. Air Force Phillips Laboratory in Albuquerque. His corporate board memberships include Orbital Sciences Corp., The Annapolis Center, and PhDx Systems Inc. of Albuquerque. He is the founder and serves as chairman of Interlune Intermars Initiative Inc., an organization whose goal is to advance the private sector's acquisition and use of lunar resources.