Former astronaut Buzz Aldrin to give Tate Lecture Dec. 8

Buzz AldrinBuzz Aldrin, space tourism advocate and one of the first to set foot on the Moon, visits the Hilltop during the 40th-anniversary year of the Apollo 11 mission to speak in SMU’s 2009-10 Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series. Aldrin will give the Oncor Electric Delivery Lecture at 8 p.m. Dec. 8 in McFarlin Auditorium.

Aldrin joined NASA in 1963 and is credited with devising docking and rendezvous techniques for spacecraft in Earth and lunar orbit that are still used today. He has received numerous honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In addition, he is the author of several books, including a 2009 memoir, Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home From the Moon.

Since retiring from NASA and the Air Force, Aldrin has continued his leadership in human space exploration. He devised a master plan for missions to Mars known as the Aldrin Mars Cycler – a spacecraft system with perpetual cycling orbits between Earth and Mars. He has received three U.S. patents for his schematics of a modular space station, Starbooster reusable rockets, and multi-crew modules for space flight. He is also the founder of Starcraft Boosters Inc., a rocket design company, and the ShareSpace Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to advancing space education, exploration and affordable space flight experiences for all.

In honor of Aldrin’s visit, SMU will present a special showing of director Ron Howard’s documentary film In the Shadow of the Moon at 6 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium. Attendees must have lecture tickets in order to be seated for the movie. The screening is made possible by a partnership between SMU and the Dallas Film Society.

The evening lecture is sold out. Aldrin will answer questions from SMU community members and local high school students in the Turner Construction Student Forum at 4:30 p.m. Dec. 8 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom.

Visit the Tate Distinguished Lecture Series homepage

2009-10 Tate Lecture season kicks off Sept. 8

Thomas Friedman, Fareed Zakaria and David GergenThomas Friedman and Fareed Zakaria will offer their insights on current events and international politics Sept. 8 in the first event of the Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series’ 2009-10 season.

Friedman is a three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist with The New York Times and the bestselling author of Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution – And How It Can Renew America. Zakaria is editor of Newsweek International and host of CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS.” The two will participate in a discussion moderated by news analyst, former White House adviser and longtime Tate Series favorite David Gergen.

The lecture is sold out. All SMU community members are invited to attend the Tate Lecture Series Student Forum with the speakers at 4:30 p.m. on lecture day in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center. Doors open at 4 p.m. Seats may be reserved online, and reserved seats are guaranteed until 4:15 p.m.

Scientists, satirists, fashion leaders, and one of the first men to walk on the moon are among the leaders coming to campus as part of the 2009-10 Tate Series. The line-up, announced at political analyst Cokie Roberts‘ lecture May 5, includes Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, director and Oscar-winning actress Diane Keaton, fashion industry icon Kenneth Cole, political satirist Christopher Buckley, neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor and former Apollo astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin.

Learn more about this season’s Tate lecturers and the Tate Student Forum series for the community at