BEER-SHEVA, ISRAEL, June 2, 2011 - Ben-Gurion University of the Negev awarded an honorary doctoral degree to former NASA Chief Scientist and Purdue University President France A. Córdova on Monday evening.
Upon conferring the degree, BGU President Prof. Rivka Carmi said, "This award recognizes France A. Córdova's leadership in fostering academic excellence, pluralism, equality and social justice at Purdue University. Her devotion to educating the next generation of scientists while serving in key academic positions and working indefatigably to raise the quality of education and science teacher-training is deserving of this honor."
Accepting the degree, Dr. Córdova said, "It is a distinct privilege to receive an honorary degree from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, an institution known for teaching and research excellence in engineering, technology and the sciences. I share the aspirations of BGU's President Carmi to better the world through research and scientific exploration and am deeply honored to be included in this year's ceremony."
Prior to joining Purdue University, Dr. Córdova served as chancellor and distinguished professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California Riverside from 2002 to 2007. Under her guidance, the University became a national model for the academic success of underrepresented students.
She is currently serving a six-year presidential appointment to the National Science Board and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
As NASA's chief scientist, from 1993 to 1996, Dr. Córdova served as the primary scientific advisor to the NASA administration and the principal interface between NASA headquarters and the broader scientific community. She was both the first woman, as well as the youngest person to serve as NASA's chief scientist. For her contributions, she was later awarded NASA's highest honor, the Distinguished Service Medal.
Dr. Córdova's scientific career contributions are in the fields of observational and experimental astrophysics, multi-spectral research on x-ray and gamma ray sources and space instrumentation.
Dr. Córdova earned her Ph.D. in physics from the California Institute of Technology. She graduated with a B.S. in English cum laude from Stanford University.
American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion's vision, creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University's expertise locally and around the globe. With some 20,000 students on campuses in Beer-Sheva, Sede Boqer and Eilat in Israel's southern desert, BGU is a university with a conscience, where the highest academic standards are integrated with community involvement, committed to sustainable development of the Negev. For more information, please visit www.aabgu.org.