CONWAY, SC - Approximately 507 students are eligible to participate in Coastal Carolina University's fall commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. on Dec. 17, at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. December and August candidates will be recognized.
A real-time webcast of the commencement ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. at www.coastal.edu/commencement.
Pierre J. Thuot, a former NASA astronaut, is the commencement speaker and will address the graduates on "Reaching for the Stars and the Values to Launch You There."
As a NASA astronaut, Thuot logged more than 650 hours in space, including 17 hours on three space walks. He flew as a mission specialist on the space shuttle Atlantis in 1990, on the maiden voyage of Endeavour in 1992 and on the Columbia in 1994.
Thuot joined NASA in June 1985. His Atlantis mission orbited the Earth 72 times in 106 hours and traveled 1.87 million miles. On Endeavour, Thuot participated in three space walks and broke a 20-year record for the longest space walk. On the Columbia, more than 60 experiments or investigations were conducted in many scientific and engineering disciplines including materials science, human physiology, biotechnology, robotics and atmospheric ozone monitoring. The 5.8 million-mile mission concluded on March 18, 1994, after orbiting the Earth 224 times in 13 days.
Prior to his NASA service, Thuot was a project test flight officer who flew more than 50 different aircraft. He retired from the Navy in 1998 and is currently manager of Aerospace Programs Assessments at Whitney Bradley. He lives in Maryland.