Neil deGrasse Tyson, a prominent astrophysicist, space exploration advocate and author, will deliver the address at Lehigh University's 145th commencement ceremony on Monday, May 20, 2013.
Through his writing, speaking engagements and appearances on public television, Tyson has made science accessible to millions of people. He serves as the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where studies star formation, dwarf galaxies and the structure of the Milky Way.
He will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Lehigh during the commencement ceremonies.
“Neil deGrasse Tyson has a rare gift for communicating the excitement of basic science, and he is a tremendous advocate for its importance to our nation,” said Lehigh President Alice P. Gast. “Neil inspires us to dream big and to think about our world and beyond. We are extremely excited to have someone of his stature share his passion for science with us.”
Gast thanked the students who nominated Tyson, as well as the commencement speaker selection committee, for their endorsement of him.
Jarred Barnes, president of the Class of 2013 and a member of the selection committee, said Tyson was an exceptional choice.
“He is very engaging in the way he tries to connect to those who are listening to him speak, and I know this will come through in the way will address all of us on our day of graduation in May,” Barnes said. “I really look forward to having this renowned gentleman speak to my classmates and I am hoping to hear him tell us, in so many words, to reach for the stars.”
Born and raised in New York City, Tyson attended the city’s public schools and graduated from the Bronx High School of Science before earning a B.A. in physics from Harvard, an M.A. in astronomy from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Ph.D. in astrophysics from Columbia University.
Throughout his career, Tyson has shared his passion for science. He has written 10 books and numerous essays and hosted PBS’s NOVAScienceNOW program and a forthcoming series that will remake Carl Sagan’s iconic Cosmos series for the new century.
Among his books is his memoir, The Sky is Not the Limit: Adventures of an Urban Astrophysicist, and Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution, the companion book to the four-part PBS-NOVA Origins mini-series. He also authored the New York Times bestseller Death by Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandries, and The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet.