U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Graduation
with Captain Mark Kelly as Commencement Speaker for Class of 2012 Graduation
KINGS POINT, NEW YORK, May 4, 2012 - The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy today announced that Captain Mark Kelly, a 1986 Academy graduate, has been chosen as this year's commencement speaker at the Merchant Marine Academy graduation on Monday, June 18, 2012. A retired U.S. Navy captain and astronaut, Kelly was chosen by the 219 graduating midshipmen as the most inspirational role model representing the Academy's core values of Courage in Adversity, Respect for Others, Integrity from Within and Service Above All.
"Captain Kelly's life story is an inspiration to us all - but especially for the midshipmen who are following in his footsteps as they graduate from the Academy," said Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. "Personally and professionally, the example he sets does both the Academy and our country proud - we look forward to hearing his remarks next month."
In addition to his experience as a U.S. Navy Captain and astronaut, Captain Kelly is a best-selling author, prostate cancer survivor, and an experienced naval aviator who flew combat missions during the Gulf War. The winner of many awards, including the Legion of Merit, two Defense Superior Service Medals and two Distinguished Flying Crosses, Kelly was selected as an astronaut in 1996. He flew his first of four missions in 2001 aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour, the same space shuttle that he commanded on its final flight in May 2011. He has also commanded Space Shuttle Discovery and is one of only two individuals who have visited the International Space Station on four different occasions.
"Captain Kelly's impressive career as a Navy officer and astronaut along with his personal dedication and fortitude in the face of adversity makes him the ideal speaker to launch our graduates' careers as commissioned officers," said Dr. Shashi Kumar, acting superintendent of USMMA. "I am extremely honored Captain Kelly will be sharing his insights and wisdom as our commencement speaker this year."
Already a celebrated American, Kelly became the center of international attention after the January 2011 assassination attempt on his wife, former US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. In their best-selling memoir, Gabby, the couple shares their story of hope and resilience with the world. The inspirational memoir has topped multiple best-seller lists, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Amazon.
For more about Capt. Kelly read Fast Lane, the official blog of the Secretary of Transportation.
The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, located in Kings Point, N.Y, educates and graduates merchant marine officers and leaders of honor and integrity who contribute to the economic, defense, and homeland security interests of the United States. With 95% percent of the worlds' products transported over water, these exceptional leaders are vital to the effective operation of our merchant fleet for both commercial and military transport. The U.S. Merchant Marine is administered by the Maritime Administration under the auspices of the Department of Transportation.