Thursday, January 26, 2012
This week we had the privilege of hosting retired astronaut and U.S. Navy Capt. Mark Kelly as part of the Peter J. Hoagland Integrity in Public Service Lecture Series. The two events we organized around his visit to campus were phenomenal. He first met with a select group of students and I was impressed both with the quality of their questions as well as with Capt. Kelly’s responses. He was very frank and open and it made for an engaging session. He followed up with an extraordinary presentation at our public lecture, where we drew an audience of close to 500 people. His talk was informal yet very polished and covered a lot of ground in 45 minutes. He talked about his military career and his time with NASA and he touched on the shooting just over a year ago that critically injured his wife, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, her recovery and her decision announced the day before to step down from Congress.
As the crowd filed out of the auditorium following the event, I found myself struck by how many people came up and wanted to talk with him about how much the space program had an impact on their lives, or how much they were affected by the shooting that injured his wife. I was very moved by that.
The speakers we have hosted in past years as part of the lecture series have been very much involved in politics. I liked that we were able to bring someone in like Capt. Kelly who offered a different perspective. We recognize that public service comes in many different forms. In each case though, people that do public service are driven by a passion for making a difference in others lives, even if they must make a tremendous sacrifice to do so, as Capt. Kelly did in his military career and with NASA, and as his wife did in choosing to run for the Arizona Legislature and later for Congress.
As a public land-grant university, we have a three-part mission: education, research and service/outreach. We’re here to serve the people of the state of Nebraska, our nation and the world. As a college, we strive to serve as good role models to our students and to motivate them to find opportunities to use their talents for the good of others. We hope Capt. Kelly’s lecture did just that.
You can read more about Mark Kelly's visit on the college website.
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