Apollo 13 Astronaut Jim Lovell To Speak At Ithaca College Commencement Ceremony On Sunday, May 17

ITHACA, NY — Apollo 13 astronaut Jim Lovell will deliver the main address at Ithaca College’s 114th Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 17. Lovell, whose message to Mission Control — “Houston, we’ve had a problem” — initiated one of the most dramatic episodes of the space age, will speak to some 1,390 graduates and their guests at the 10:00 a.m. ceremony at Butterfield Stadium.

Also making remarks at Commencement will be Ithaca College president Tom Rochon, senior class president A.J. Mizes and board of trustees vice chairman Larry Alleva. For more information on the ceremony, which will be carried on Time Warner Cable channel 16 in the Ithaca area and webcast live over the Internet, visit

A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Lovell was selected by NASA in 1962 to join the Gemini program. His missions included the Gemini 7 flight that saw the first rendezvous of two manned spacecraft and the history-making Moon voyage of Apollo 8, during which he and his fellow crew were the first humans to leave the Earth’s gravitational influence.

Lovell’s fourth and final flight was on the perilous April 1970 mission of Apollo 13. He was serving as commander of the spacecraft when it suffered an explosion en route to its planned Moon landing. The crew was able to modify the systems in the lunar module into an effective lifeboat, and Lovell steered it in a trajectory around the Moon and back to a safe landing on Earth. The book he later wrote about the incident became the basis of the 1995 Tom Hanks film “Apollo 13.”

Lovell left the space program in 1973 and today serves as president of Lovell Communications, a business devoted to disseminating information about the U.S. space program. In addition to having a small part in the “Apollo 13” film, he appeared in several segments of “From the Earth to the Moon,” the acclaimed HBO documentary miniseries that Tom Hanks produced in 1998. His impressive array of honors includes the Presidential Medal of Freedom, French Legion of Honor, NASA Distinguished and Exceptional Service Medals, and two Navy Distinguished Flying Crosses.

Originally published in News Releases: Apollo 13 Astronaut Jim Lovell To Speak At Ithaca College Commencement Ceremony On Sunday, May 17.