On Saturday, the seventh U.S. astronaut to walk on the moon, retired U.S. Air Force Col. David R. Scott, stepped to the podium at First Baptist Church Jacksonville Downtown to receive an honorary Doctor of Science and Technology degree at the Jacksonville University commencement.
"I would like to especially congratulate the graduates for achieving a major summit in their life," Scott told the graduates and guests, who gathered in the church auditorium because the outdoor ceremony at the Arlington campus was rained out. JU said 830 degrees were awarded at spring commencement.
Scott is a JU supporter and is married to JU graduate and trustee Margaret Black-Scott, known as Mag, who created Beverly Hills Wealth Management three years ago and opened a Jacksonville office in October.
Black-Scott was among the first women to serve as a stockbroker in Jacksonville and was promoted in the 1990s to lead the Morgan Stanley office in Los Angeles. She married Scott in April 2005.
In brief remarks, Scott talked about the assembly of cultures necessary for the lunar missions, referring, as an example, to the differences among scientists, who "are happiest when everything is a surprise," and engineers, who "are happiest when there are no surprises."
Merging the culture of differences creates "a beautiful harmony," Scott said.
Scott, the commander of the Apollo 15 mission to the moon in the summer of 1971, urged the graduates to travel, see the world and learn different cultures.
"See the world. Sail the seas. Plunge the oceans. Walk the deserts. Look at the stars," he said. And in doing so, the graduates should send postcards or letters to their teachers to thank them.
"Say, 'this is what I did today. This is what I am going to do tomorrow. Thank you for yesterday, because it helped me to get where I am. Because I am on a summit,'" he said.
Scott, 80, was one of the 12 U.S. astronauts to walk on the moon. Scott also was the first man to drive a lunar roving vehicle on the moon
He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and earned master's degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also graduated from the Air Force Experimental Test Pilots School and Aerospace Research Pilots School.
The JU resolution read by university President Tim Cost in presenting the honorary JU degree said Scott made his first flight into space in March 1966 as pilot of the Gemini 8 mission, the first docking in space, and served as command pilot for Apollo 9 in 1969. He retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1975 as a colonel and became director of the NASA Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base.
Scott was a technical adviser for director Ron Howard's 1995 movie, "Apollo 13," which won two Academy Awards and was nominated for seven others, including Best Picture.
Scott holds 15 patents covering inventions in spaceflight operations and robotic planetary exploration. He co-authored "Two Sides of the Moon" with Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, a look at the space race from both sides of the Cold War.
Scott received two National Aeronautics and Space Administration Distinguished Service Medals, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal and many more honors.
The Scotts live in Los Angeles and have a home in Ponte Vedra Beach.
Retired JU President Kerry Romesburg, who received an honorary Doctor of Education degree, asked the graduates "to embrace what comes next."
Romesburg served as JU president from July 1, 2004, to Feb. 1, 2013, when Cost took the position. Cost presided over the commencement ceremony.
Cost is the university's 12th president, succeeding, among others, Frances Bartlett Kinne, the first woman to serve as a college president in the state of Florida and the second in the nation.
Cost, a JU graduate, has served as a trustee. Before taking the JU position, he was a consultant with PepsiCo in Purchase, N.Y., and has 31 years of experience there and with Bristol-Myers Squibb, Kodak, Aramark, Wyeth and Pharmacia. At PepsiCo, he has worked for Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi.
Romesburg told students they will define their futures. "You are defined by what you do now and what you do next," he said. "Actions must be taken; choices must be made."
He closed his remarks by quoting Dr. Seuss: "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."