Astronaut Kelly speaking Jan. 23 at Hoagland Lecture

U.S. Navy Capt. Mark Kelly
U.S. Navy Capt. Mark Kelly

Astronaut and U.S. Navy Capt. Mark Kelly, who flew four missions aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour, including one as commander on its last mission, will reveal insights from the remarkable journeys he has made in his career and personal life when he speaks Jan. 23 at UNL. His appearance is part of the Peter J. Hoagland Integrity in Public Service Lecture Series.

Kelly will speak at 7 p.m. in the Nebraska Union auditorium. His lecture, "Endeavor to Succeed," is free and open to the public with a limited number of seats available on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors will open at 6 p.m.

Already a celebrated American, Kelly became the center of international attention after the January 2011 assassination attempt on his wife, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.). Among other responses, the shooting sparked public discussion about the need for more civility in politics and government.

Kelly and Giffords co-authored a memoir "Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope," released Nov. 15. The book explores Kelly's public service as a pilot and astronaut, his wife's service as an Arizona state legislator and member of Congress, and their struggles in the aftermath of the shooting. Kelly is expected to touch on similar themes in his UNL appearance.

Counting his years as a naval aviator and his 15 years with NASA's astronaut corps, Kelly is one of the nation's most experienced pilots. He has logged more than 6,000 flight hours in more than 50 different aircraft and has more than 375 carrier landings. He flew 39 combat missions in the Gulf War. He has received several medals including the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

He is one of only two people who have visited the International Space Station on four separate occasions. His identical twin brother, Scott, is also an astronaut who served as commander of both the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. They share the distinction of being the only siblings who have traveled in space.

Kelly retired from NASA's astronaut corps and the U.S. Navy earlier this year.

The Hoagland lecture series honors former Nebraska state senator and three-term Congressman Peter Hoagland, who died in 2007 from complications of Parkinson's disease. He was 65.

Prior to being elected to the Nebraska Legislature in 1978, Hoagland worked with Nebraska Common Cause to write and pass into law the Nebraska Open Meetings Law. In addition, the Omaha native helped to create the Political Accountability and Disclosure Committee, which regulates political activity in Nebraska. While in the state legislature, Hoagland was known for his work on legislation supporting environmental causes and on issues affecting financial service companies in his home district, which included Omaha and the surrounding area. During his time in Congress, Hoagland was known as a student of the issues and for his bipartisan approach to legislation.

Hoagland's friend and former chief of staff, Jim Crounse, created the lecture series in 2008, with a gift to the University of Nebraska Foundation. The goal of the series is to inspire young people to dedicate themselves to public service. Hoagland cared deeply about public service and giving the next generation opportunities to participate in public service and to see the good that can come of it. The lectures alternate between UNL and the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Kelly's appearance is the fourth in the series.

- Jean Ortiz Jones, University Communications