Mount Pleasant, Iowa: January 24, 2018 – In celebration of Iowa Wesleyan University’s 176th anniversary of its founding, the University welcomes home alumna Dr. Peggy Whitson ’81, NASA’s record-setting astronaut, who completed a career total of 665 days in space, more than any U.S. astronaut in history.
Whitson will be the keynote speaker for the Founders Day Celebration on February 14 in the University Chapel. She will share experiences from her most recent 288-days aboard the International Space Station where she and her crew also set records in the volume and variety of scientific research carried out on the orbital laboratory.
During this ceremony, she will be presented the Key to the City of Mount Pleasant.
A native of Beaconsfield, Iowa, Whitson graduated from Iowa Wesleyan University in 1981 and earned her Ph.D. at Rice University, she is a true inspiration for all. She is the first woman to command the International Space Station, and in 2017 commanded the ISS a second time. She holds the record for cumulative days in space by any NASA astronaut and holds the record for total spacewalks by a woman. She also was the first woman to serve as Chief of the Astronaut Corps, a position she held prior to her most recent station command assignment.
“It is our distinct honor to welcome Dr. Whitson back to her alma mater. She is a vital part of not only American history but of Iowa Wesleyan University history and an example for future generations of students who dare to live out their dreams,” said President Steve Titus. “Dr. Whitson’s extraordinary contributions to society and science exhibit a degree of servant leadership that is profound. We are so proud to call her one of our own.”
The Founders Day Celebration will take place at 11 am in University Chapel. The public is welcomed to attend.
A press conference will be held in the Espy-McCurdy Conference Room of the Howe Student Activity Center at 12:15 pm with set up beginning at Noon. An invitation only school assembly will be held at 1:30 pm in Ruble Arena in the Howe Student Activity Center. To register for the press conference and/or the school assembly, please contact Lori.Baerg@iw.edu. You may access Whitson’s bio at NASA Astronaut Peggy Whitson..
Iowa Wesleyan University – As Southeast Iowa’s regional comprehensive university, Iowa Wesleyan University is a transformational learning community whose passion is to educate, empower and inspire students to lead meaningful lives and careers.