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Anne McClain: oration

Read Professor Catheryn Mitchell's oration on Colonel Anne McClain for the honorary degree of Doctor of Engineering in July 2023.


Anne McClain
Anne McClain

Chancellor, I have the great pleasure in proposing Anne McClain for the honorary degree of Doctor of Engineering.

Anne McClain is a Colonel in the U.S. Army, an engineer and a NASA astronaut.

As a high achieving and inspirational engineer Anne has published research in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Journal. She worked on a construction project in Uganda with Operation Crossroads Africa. Anne is a dedicated and skilled sports player – she has played in the England Women's Rugby Premiership and for the United States Women's National Rugby Union team.

From a very young age Anne wanted to become an astronaut. In 1997, she graduated from Gonzaga Preparatory School in Spokane, Washington. She attended the United States Military Academy, West Point, where she earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and was commissioned as an army officer. A Marshall Scholarship then brought her to the UK. In 2003-2004, she attended the University of Bath, where she earned a master's degree in Aerospace Engineering. She then went on to the University of Bristol, where, in 2005, she earned a master's degree in International Relations.

Following these academic studies, Anne returned to the US Army and qualified as a helicopter pilot. She became an Air Traffic Control Platoon Leader and rose up to Detachment Commander, seeing active military service during this period. In 2010 Anne became the Commander of C Troop, 1st Battalion, 14th Aviation Regiment, responsible for the Army's training of instructor pilots and maintenance test pilots. She graduated from the Naval Test Pilot School in June 2013 and has logged over 2,000 hours on various aircraft types including the Kiowa Warrior, the Beechcraft C-12 Huron, the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk, and the Eurocopter UH-72 Lakota. In the same month as her graduation from the Navy Test Pilot School, Anne was selected by NASA as one of eight members of the 21st NASA astronaut class.

Anne’s astronaut training was completed in 2015. She travelled into space to the International Space Station in December 2018 and returned to Earth after 6 months in low-Earth-orbit in June 2019. During this time as International Space Station Flight Engineer she completed two space walks and contributed to experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science.

In 2020, she was announced as one of NASA's Artemis astronauts. The Artemis program, the major focus of NASA’s spaceflight, will take astronauts to the lunar surface for the first time in the 21st century.

This is a time of renewed excitement in lunar exploration and of distant planetary discoveries and Anne serves as a true inspiration. We recognize her for her outstanding career as a NASA astronaut. Her ambition, courage and outstanding achievements embody the values of the University of Bath.

Chancellor, I present to you Lieutenant Colonel Anne McClain who is eminently worthy to receive the degree of Doctor of Engineering, honoris causa.

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