Astronaut Anderson to receive Bessey Medal Dec. 18


UNL will confer its Charles Bessey Medal to NASA astronaut Clayton Anderson during Fall Commencement ceremonies Dec. 18.

The Bessey Medal is presented by UNL in recognition of distinguished achievement in the sciences or in fields grounded in the sciences. The medal’s namesake, Charles Bessey, was one of the world's pioneers in botany. Bessey was a faculty member at the University of Nebraska in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He is often credited with originating ecology as a field of scientific inquiry. Bessey twice served the university as acting chancellor, from 1888-91 and 1899-1900, both times to much acclaim and esteem from the faculty.

Anderson is a native Nebraskan who has flown missions with the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. He is a 1981 graduate of Hastings College with a B.S. in physics and holds a master's in aerospace engineering from Iowa State University, conferred in 1983, the same year he joined the Johnson Space Center in the mission planning and analysis division. A veteran of two space flights, Anderson has logged 167 days in space, and 38 hours and 28 minutes of in six spacewalks. He completed 5 months aboard the International Space Station in 2007, and served aboard the STS-131 crew in 2010.

While not a Nebraska graduate, Anderson has often worn Husker-related garb during his space missions, bringing recognition to the university.

Anderson will deliver the undergraduate commencement address during ceremonies that begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. Commencement is free and open to the public.

- Kim Hachiya, University Communications