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NASA Administrator Charles Bolden Is Speaker for Commissioning Ceremony at ODU

Charles BoldenCharles Bolden

Charles F. Bolden, the 12th administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and a retired Marine Corps major general, will deliver the address to newly commissioned officers of the Old Dominion University Army ROTC and the Hampton Roads Naval ROTC on Friday, May 10.

The 2 p.m. ceremony, at ODU's Ted Constant Convocation Center, will see 75 officer candidates be commissioned to the Army, Navy and Marine Corps. Those commissioned will report to postings around the world. Since the Naval ROTC Unit, Hampton Roads, encompasses the entire region, nine Hampton University cadets and two from Norfolk State University will also be commissioned at the ceremony, joining 64 students from ODU.

The event will also feature remarks by the presidents of the three participating institutions in the Hampton Roads Naval ROTC - ODU President John R. Broderick, NSU President Tony Atwater and HU President William R. Harvey.

Bolden began his duties as NASA administrator July 17, 2009, after being nominated to the post by President Barack Obama. As administrator, Bolden leads the NASA team and manages its resources to advance the agency's missions and goals.

His 34-year career with the U.S. Marine Corps included 14 years as a member of NASA's Astronaut Office. He traveled into orbit four times on the space shuttle between 1986 and 1994, commanding two of the missions. His flights included deployment of the Hubble Space Telescope, and the first joint U.S.-Russian shuttle mission, which featured a cosmonaut as a member of his crew.

A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Bolden flew more than 100 combat missions in North and South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia while stationed in Namphong, Thailand, from 1972-73.

After leaving NASA the first time, Bolden was assigned as the deputy commanding general of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force in the Pacific in 1997, serving as the commanding general of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Forward in support of Operation Desert Thunder in Kuwait. His many military decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross. He was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2006.

The Hampton Roads Naval ROTC, commanded by Capt. Thomas V. Halley Jr., was founded in 1982 and brought into being an innovative concept known as the NROTC Consortium. Under this concept, Hampton Roads was the first unit to offer complete NROTC programs at three separate institutions. The command has permanent instructors, staff, office space and training facilities at each university; yet the unit and its battalion of midshipmen and officer candidates are integrated into a single command structure. The Hampton Roads Consortium is the fourth-largest NROTC unit in the nation.

The Old Dominion University Army ROTC, under the command of Lt. Col. Brian D. Kerns, was founded in 1969 as part of the Darden College of Education. More than 1,000 young men and women have received their officer commissioning through ODU since the program's inception.

Commissioning ceremonies graduate ROTC Army cadets and Navy midshipmen and officer candidates into the officer corps. The joint commissioning ceremony is held in conjunction with ODU's May commencement. Students who have earned their degrees will also participate in the ODU commencement ceremonies Friday, May 10, and Saturday, May 11.