By Bill Kisliuk
The Honorable Charles F. Bolden Jr., a former combat pilot and Space Shuttle astronaut who now serves as administrator of the United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration, will speak at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science 2013 commencement ceremony. The ceremony takes place at 12:30 p.m. on June 15 at Pauley Pavilion on the UCLA campus.
Founded in 1958, NASA hosts space exploration and research missions to the moon, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter, and has crew and experiments aboard the International Space Station. The agency employs more than 18,000 people and oversees more than 1,000 research and technology programs. President Obama swore Bolden in as the 12th administrator in NASA history on July 17, 2009.
Born in Columbia, S.C., in 1948, Bolden was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy after graduating from high school. In 1968 he earned a degree in electrical science and was commissioned to the U.S. Marine Corps, where he became a naval aviator. Bolden flew more than 100 combat missions in and around Vietnam in 1972 and 1973.
In 1977 he earned a Master’s degree in systems management from the University of Southern California, and joined NASA in 1980. Between 1986 and 1994 he flew aboard the Space Shuttle four times, twice serving as mission commander.
After his final Space Shuttle flight, Holden retired from NASA and returned to active duty in the Marine Corps. In 1998 he was promoted to his final rank of major general, and he retired from the Marine Corps in 2003. He returned to NASA six years later. Among many other honors, Bolden earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.
At the UCLA Engineering commencement, Bolden will receive the inaugural UCLA Engineering Medal from Vijay K. Dhir, dean of the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science.
“Throughout his career, Administrator Bolden has demonstrated the leadership, commitment to advancing engineering and scientific discovery and dedication to public service that we seek to instill in our UCLA Engineering graduates,” Dhir said. “It is a privilege to have him as our 2013 commencement speaker.”