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Capt Mark Kelly Endeavour to Succeed lecture part of IdeaFest

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Capt. Mark Kelly, astronaut and retired U.S. Navy Captain, a best-selling author, prostate cancer survivor and an experienced naval aviator who flew combat missions during the Gulf War, will be the guest speaker for IdeaFest at the University of South Dakota on April 10 at 7 p.m. in Slagle Hall’s Aalfs Auditorium.

Kelly’s lecture, “Endeavour to Succeed,” will address his success in space as well as his personal life and how it forever changed in the assassination attempt on his wife, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.). Kelly and Giffords co-authored, “Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope,” released in November 2011, which explores Kelly’s public service as a pilot and astronaut, his wife’s public service as a politician, and their struggles following the shooting that left her critically injured.

Kelly served as commander of Space Shuttle Discovery and flew his first of four missions in 2001 aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour, the same space shuttle that he commanded on its final flight in May 2011. He was selected as an astronaut in 1996 and received a B.S. degree in marine engineering and nautical science from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in 1986. In 1994, Kelly received an M.S. degree in aeronautical engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. A photograph of Kelly is available for download at

Presented in partnership with the Beacom School of Business Opportunity Fund and the Arthur Volk Symposium, “Endeavour to Succeed” is free and open to the public and one of two lectures scheduled for IdeaFest, April 10-11. Dr. David Sweatt, the Evelyn F. McKnight endowed chairman of the Department of Neurobiology at the University of Alabama Medical School, and the director of the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute, will present a second keynote address, “Neurobiology of Creativity,” at 7 p.m. on April 11. Sweatt’s lecture, presented in partnership with the Division of Basic Biomedical Sciences at the Sanford School of Medicine, the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the Center for Academic Engagement, is at the Muenster University Center and is also free and open to the public.

A photo of Sweatt is available for download at

IdeaFest is an annual event that showcases accomplishments in graduate and undergraduate research, creative scholarship and academic engagement. Established in 1992 as a celebration of academic and cultural diversity at USD, IdeaFest is hosted by the Center for Academic Engagement, Council for Undergraduate Research and Sponsored Activity, USD Graduate School, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, and the USD Office of Academic Affairs. For more information about IdeaFest, please visit for directions to campus or campus venues, please go to:


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Hanna DeLange
USD News