Dr. Sandra H. Magnus, former NASA astronaut and Belleville native, has been selected as the 2014 Commencement speaker for Lindenwood University-Belleville.
This graduation ceremony marks the second in school history for Lindenwood Belleville and will be held on Sunday, May 18, at the Gateway Center in Collinsville, Ill. Approximately 500 students are invited to participate in this year’s Commencement.
“We could not be more pleased to have Dr. Magnus as our honored guest speaker at Lindenwood University-Belleville’s 2014 Commencement Ceremony,” said Dr. Jerry Bladdick, president of the campus. “Dr. Magnus’ outstanding accomplishments in the aerospace field are a testament to her high level of talent and ambition and love of lifelong learning, qualities that we at Lindenwood hold with the utmost respect. Her impressive achievements and pioneering spirit in a traditionally male-dominated field demonstrate the level of perseverance that we seek to cultivate in our graduates as they leave behind their own legacy. We are truly grateful to Dr. Magnus for being our Commencement speaker, and we are thrilled to welcome her back to her hometown of Belleville.”
Magnus currently serves as executive director for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the world’s largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession, with more than 35,000 individual members in 79 countries.
Born and raised in Belleville, Ill., Magnus attended the Missouri University of Science and Technology, graduating in 1986 with a degree in physics and in 1990 with a master’s degree in electrical engineering. She also holds a PhD from the School of Materials Science and Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology (1996).
Selected to the NASA Astronaut Corps in April 1996, Magnus flew in space on the STS-112 shuttle mission in 2002 and on the final shuttle flight, STS-135, in 2011. In addition, she flew to the International Space Station on STS-126 in November 2008, served as flight engineer and science officer on Expedition 18, and returned home on STS-119 after four and a half months on board. Following her assignment on the station, she served at NASA Headquarters in the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. Her last duty at NASA, after STS-135, was as the deputy chief of the Astronaut Office.
While at NASA, Magnus worked extensively with the international community, including the European Space Agency (ESA) and the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA), as well as with Brazil on facility-type payloads. She also spent time in Russia developing and integrating operational products and procedures for the International Space Station.