The commencement ceremony at Purdue University this weekend took an interesting turn this weekend. The university awarded one astronaut who is currently staying at the International Space Station. Astronaut Andrew J. “Drew” Feustel received an honorary doctorate from the Purdue University. Feustel is also an alumnus of the University; he studied solid earth sciences for his Bachelor’s degree at the university.
Usually, the dean is the one who puts the hood on the recipient of the award. It was impossible in the case so his colleague astronaut at the ISS, Scott Tingle, placed the hood on him. Scott Tingle is also an alumnus from the Purdue University.
According to the president of Purdue University, Mitch Daniels, the exception the university made to award Feustel while he was still at the ISS gives the graduates a fun and unique memory.
Feustel’s award moments were live from the ISS. He addressed the graduating students saying that he hopes they keep fond memories of their years spent in the University. He also hopes that they excel in their endeavor.
He also talked about his family’s history with the school. He stated that most of his family graduated from Purdue University and he just followed the path that his family had already created. However, his decision to follow that path led him to achieve his dreams. He said the only university he applied for is the Purdue University.
Feustel’s wife attended the graduation ceremony at the University. She expressed her joy for being within the walls of the University once again. She also said that she knows her husband would have loved to be with them. She also encouraged the graduating students to aim higher. She was also an alumnus of the University.
Feustel is a member of the crew that is conducting about 250 experiments in space. The mission called Expedition 55 features six scientists. Feustel went to the ISS aboard the Soyuz MS-08 spacecraft on March 23. He will stay at the ISS for another five months before returning to earth.
Feustel has walked through space on seven occasions. His spacewalking totals 48 hours 28 minutes and his next spacewalk will happen on Wednesday, May 16. This mission is Feustel’s third mission, and he joined NASA in the year 2000.
Purdue is known to produce good astronauts and has gained the title “Cradle of Astronauts”. The University has produced 24 NASA astronauts.