NSF director addresses Marymount commencement

First slide

Astrophysicist France A. Córdova, director of the National Science Foundation, addressed the 650 degree candidates and received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at Marymount University’s Undergraduate Commencement May 21 at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington.

 

Dr. Réka Szemerkényi, the Hungarian ambassador to the United States, was the commencement speaker for graduate degree recipients May 20. That same day, the university held Recognition Day which included a Commencement Mass, an awards ceremony and a reception.

As director of the NSF, Córdova heads the only government agency charged with advancing all fields

of scientific discovery, technological innovation, and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. A $7.5 billion independent federal agency; NSF programs and initiatives keep the United States at the forefront of science and engineering, empower future generations of scientists and engineers, and foster U.S. prosperity and global leadership.

Córdova is president emerita of Purdue University and chancellor emerita of the University of

California, Riverside, where she was a distinguished professor of physics and astronomy. She was the vice chancellor for research and professor of physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Previously, Córdova served as NASA's chief scientist. Prior to joining NASA, she was on the faculty of Pennsylvania State University, where she headed the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Córdova was also deputy group leader in the Earth and Space Sciences Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

More recently, Córdova served as chair of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution and on the board of trustees of Mayo Clinic. She also served as a member of the National Science Board (NSB), where she chaired the Committee on Strategy and Budget. As NSF director, she is an ex officio member of the NSB.

Córdova's scientific contributions have been in the areas of observational and experimental astrophysics, multi-spectral research on x-ray and gamma ray sources and space-borne instrumentation. She is a recipient of NASA's highest honor, the Distinguished Service Medal, and was recognized as a Kilby Laureate. The Kilby International Awards recognize extraordinary individuals who have made “significant contributions to society through science, technology, innovation, invention and education.”

She earned her bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and a doctorate in physics from the California Institute of Technology.

Marymount’s two commencement exercises recognize 347 master’s degree candidates and 43 doctoral degree candidates. 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017