Alumni astronaut Wolf to keynote Purdue graduate school commencement

April 16, 2012

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - David A. Wolf, a medical doctor, award-winning inventor and one of 23 Purdue University alumni astronauts, will be the featured speaker at a spring commencement ceremony in May.

Wolf will speak at the 9:30 a.m. ceremony on Sunday, May 13, for graduate school degree candidates. It is the fourth of five commencement ceremonies May 11-13 on Purdue's West Lafayette campus, all in the Elliott Hall of Music.

"David Wolf is an outstanding alumnus who has used his Purdue education to inspire us to reach for the stars," Purdue President France A. Córdova said. "By taking his time to be part of our commencement, he serves as a shining example of what vision, hard work, determination - and a Purdue degree - can do."

Córdova also will give a shortened address during the ceremony, and she will give the commencement address at each of the other four ceremonies.

Wolf is an Indianapolis native who graduated from North Central High School in 1974 and Purdue in 1978 with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. He went on from Purdue to earn a medical degree from Indiana University in 1982 and completed U.S. Air Force surgeon training at Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio. He also has completed U.S. astronaut and Russian cosmonaut training.

Wolf has flown four separate space missions. He has been to the Russian Space Station MIR and has conducted seven spacewalks. His most recent mission was aboard the space shuttle Endeavor in July 2009 to work at the International Space Station.

He often represents NASA at public events to speak about the experience and importance of human spaceflight.

Wolf's accomplishments on Earth are extensive, as well. He served as a research scientist at the Indianapolis Center for Advanced Research from 1980-83, where he pioneered development of modern medical ultrasonic image processing techniques. He then joined the Medical Sciences Division, Johnson Space Center in Houston. He developed the American Flight Echocardiograph, which is used in space for investigating cardiovascular physiology in microgravity.

Wolf also served as chief engineer for design of the Space Station Medical Facility, which is now operating in orbit, and as chief engineer and program manager of the Space Bioreactor, a biotechnology-based tissue engineering and cancer research program that led to systems now widely used for both commercial and research purposes.

Among his numerous awards, Wolf has received the NASA Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medal (1990) and was NASA's Inventor of the Year in 1992. He graduated with distinction from Purdue's electrical engineering honors program and received an Academic Achievement Award at IU. He was named a Distinguished Engineering Alumnus at Purdue. Wolf has received 15 U.S. patents.

Writer: Jim Bush, 765-494-2077,

Source: France A. Córdova,

Related websites:

David Wolf NASA biography

YouTube video: Endeavor astronauts speak at Apollo celebration: