ONEONTA, N.Y. -- Ronald Garan, a NASA astronaut and space shuttle veteran who earned his bachelor’s degree from the SUNY College at Oneonta in 1982, will return to his alma mater to receive an honorary SUNY degree Doctor of Science at the College’s Commencement on May 22.
Air Force Colonel Garan served as a Mission Specialist aboard the Discovery Space Shuttle during its mission to the International Space Station in June of 2008. The shuttle delivered the Japanese Experiment Module Pressurized Module and the Japanese Remote Manipulator System to the station. Shuttle astronauts delivered the 37 foot Kibo lab and added its rooftop storage room.
On the mission, Garan completed three space walks for a total of more than 20 hours. He worked on maintaining the station and priming the new Japanese module’s robotic arm for work during the nine days that the shuttle was docked at the orbiting laboratory. He is scheduled to arrive at the International Space Station in March 2011 aboard a Soyuz spacecraft for a six-month mission.
Colonel Garan was selected as a pilot by NASA in July 2000. After the completion of two years of training and evaluation, he was assigned technical duties in the Astronaut Office Station and Shuttle Operations Branches.
In April of 2006, Garan became an aquanaut through his participation in the joint NASA NOAA, NEEMO 9 (NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operation), an exploration research mission held in Aquarius, the world’s only undersea research laboratory. During the 18-day mission, the six-person crew of NEEMO 9 developed lunar surface exploration procedures and telemedical technology applications in support of the nation’s Vision for Space Exploration.
Ronald Garan received the Distinguished Graduate and Top Academic Award from USAF Fighter Weapons School; was twice selected Top Academic Instructor Pilot at the USAF Weapons School; received the Lt. Gen. Claire Lee Chennault Award at the USAF Weapons School and USAF Weapons and Tactics Center; was named a Distinguished Graduate of Officers School; and received the Top Academic Award in the F 16 Replacement Training Unit.
Colonel Garan’s military decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross for Combat Valor, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Aerial Achievement Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for Valor, National Defense Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Award, Kuwait Liberation Medal, and various other service awards. He also received the NASA Superior Accomplishment Award and the NASA Exceptional Achievement Award.
Ronald Garan last appeared at SUNY Oneonta in 2008. He spoke with faculty and students and offered a public presentation about his experiences with NASA. He will address the graduating class of 2010 at Commencement.