172nd Marietta Commencement to feature renowned alumnus

Marietta College's longstanding tradition of attracting gifted orators to campus will continue this spring when noted scientist, surgeon and astronaut, Dr. Story Musgrave '60 delivers the 172nd Commencement address in May.

Musgrave's unique sense of education and unmatched ambition has allowed him to reach success in a variety fields and become a holder of numerous degrees in the sciences and humanities, including a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from Marietta in 1960.

Musgrave said he'll decide on his commencement topic soon, but his life and educational experiences provide him an array of interesting subjects to choose from. "No. I haven't written it yet," he said. "At commencement I'll probably deal with (experience, intelligence, ambition). I think they're critical not just to education, but they're critical to life."

Yet, long before being known as NASA's "Renaissance Astronaut," Musgrave was learning lessons of life while on his dairy farm in Massachusetts. "I had no mentor when I was a child," Musgrave said. "It was pretty much self-education on the farm. Nature was my teacher when I was young."

Musgrave explained that learning is something that has come naturally to him because he views obtaining knowledge as the same process, regardless of subject matter.

"The university can have different departments and different classes, but these separations are human categories. I am a synthetic thinker, so I'm one in favor of dissolving these boundaries. There are many other intelligences and ways to be brilliant beyond the Stanford-Binet scale, which is standard IQ. You must develop yourself into an amphibian that can live in a lot of different worlds."

In order to gain such a perspective, Musgrave noted that one must be willing to go beyond what is required in order to gain real understanding. "I always read three books for every one that I was assigned. I find that if you only use a book (or other resources) when you have a problem, rather than as a means for learning, there are many tools you will never learn because you've never been exposed to them."

By viewing education without boundaries, Musgrave was able to achieve success in a variety of fields, which to most would seem quite unrelated. Over 55 years, Musgrave accumulated 18,000 hours of flying experience in more than 160 types of aircraft, including six space flights, where he spent more than 53 days in space. He has also been a landscape artist, an innovator with Applied Minds Inc., a professor of design at Art Center College of Design, and a concept artist with Walt Disney Imagineering.

Throughout all of his achievements and experiences, Musgrave still fondly remembers his time spent at Marietta, and continues to appreciate the principles for which it stands.

"It's no question. Hands-down Marietta had by far the best teachers," Musgrave said. "Marietta College had the best learning ambiance of any institution I've ever been to. You have real mentors there."

Marietta's Commencement is scheduled for May 10 in the Dyson Baudo Recreation Center.