Former Columbia Space Shuttle Commander Colonel Rick Searfoss to Deliver 2010 Commencement Address at Northcentral University

More than 470 Students will be awarded degrees on June 5, 2010 at Tim’s Toyota Center in Prescott Valley, Arizona.

PRESCOTT VALLEY, ARIZONA, May 24, 2010 — One accomplished space pioneer will address 472 education pioneers when former Columbia Space Shuttle Commander Colonel Rick Searfoss (USAF, Retired) takes the podium to address the 2010 graduating class of Northcentral University ( at commencement ceremonies to be held on June 5, 2010 at Tim’s Toyota Center in Prescott Valley, Arizona. The three-time space shuttle commander also holds the distinction of leading the most complex science research space mission ever, the historic STS-90 Neurolab mission on Columbia in 1998.

"We are honored to have Colonel Searfoss address our 2010 graduating class of Students,” Dr. Clinton Gardner, President of Northcentral University said today. "As a former space shuttle commander, Colonel Searfoss has faced the challenge of repeatedly demonstrating that he has the 'right stuff’ to succeed. Astronauts must perform to the highest standards as individuals, team members, and, ultimately, leaders. As one of less than 100 individuals who has ever actually commanded a human space mission, Colonel Searfoss will speak from the heart about character and leadership in a way that, I believe, will inspire our graduates to go forth into the world to make their own unique and valuable contribution to humanity.”

Prior to serving in the NASA Astronaut Corps from 1990 to 1999, Colonel Searfoss was a United States Air Force fighter pilot and test pilot, with over 5900 hours flying time in 72 different types of aircraft. He has held executive positions in the aerospace industry and now works regularly with numerous entrepreneurial space ventures, including serving as the Chief Judge for the $10 million Ansari X Prize and test flying experimental liquid propellant rocket planes for XCOR Aerospace. Colonel Searfoss graduated number one in his Air Force Academy class with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering and earned a Master’s Degree at the California Institute of Technology. He is also a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Air Force Fighter Weapons School, Squadron Officers School, Air Command and Staff College, Air War College, and the U.S. Naval test Pilot School.

Northcentral University’s Commencement 2010 will take place on June 5, 2010 at Tim’s Toyota Center ( in Prescott Valley, Arizona. Tim’s Toyota Center is located at 3201 North Main Street. The commencement will begin at 10:00AM and conclude at noon. A reception will immediately follow at the center.