2016 Commencement

National Science Foundation Director to Address Graduates

Published May 13, 2016

Quick links

View the RIT Commencement site for a schedule of commencement ceremonies and other information.

The University News Commencement page also has more coverage and stories as well.

On Friday, May 20 and Saturday, May 21, RIT will confer degrees upon more than 4,200 undergraduate and graduate students, including 32 doctoral candidates. At the Academic Convocation on Friday, RIT will recognize the accomplishments of graduates from all nine colleges, the School of Individualized Study, and the Golisano Institute for Sustainability by officially conferring degrees. Also at Convocation, France A. Córdova, director of the National Science Foundation, will deliver the keynote address.

France A. Córdova is the 14th director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), the only government agency charged with advancing all fields of scientific discovery, technological innovation, and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. NSF is a $7.2-billion independent federal agency, with a mission that is vital to supporting our nation’s economy, security, and ability to remain a global leader.

Córdova is president emerita of Purdue University, where she served as president from 2007 to 2012. Prior to her tenure at Purdue, she was chancellor of the University of California, Riverside and vice chancellor for research at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Purdue University/Mark Simons

France Cordóva congratulates graduates at Purdue’s 2012 Commencement.

From 1993 to 1996, Córdova was chief scientist at NASA. She is a recipient of NASA’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Medal. She has been a professor of physics and astronomy at UC-Riverside, UC-Santa Barbara and the Pennsylvania State University. Córdova was deputy group leader in the Earth and space sciences division at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Her scientific contributions are in the areas of observational and experimental astrophysics, multi-spectral research on x-ray and gamma ray sources and space-borne instrumentation.

More recently, Córdova served as chair of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution and on the board of trustees of Mayo Clinic. She also served as a member of the National Science Board (NSB). As NSF director, she is an ex officio member of the NSB.

Córdova has a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in physics from the California Institute of Technology. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Association for Women in Science, a National Associate of the National Academies, and has been awarded many honorary doctorates. Córdova is married to Christian J. Foster, a science educator, and they have two adult children.