Video We have liftoff

October 27, 2016

Captain James A. Lovell, Jr. is one of only 24 people to go to the moon and back. Lovell was on two Gemini and two Apollo missions between 1965 and 1970. His book, “Lost Moon: the Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13,” was the basis of the Academy Award-winning movie “Apollo 13,” in which he was portrayed by Tom Hanks. Lovell’s leadership and ingenuity brought the spaceship safely back to earth after a potentially fatal explosion.

Not only that, but he’s a Badger. Lovell graduated from Juneau High School in Milwaukee and attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison for two years before he was accepted to the United States Naval Academy, where he graduated with a bachelor of science degree in 1952.

Lovell will deliver the charge to the graduates at UW–Madison’s winter commencement ceremony on Sunday, Dec. 18, at the Kohl Center. In addition, Lovell will receive an honorary degree, a distinction from UW–Madison that recognizes individuals with careers of extraordinary accomplishment. The Committee on Honorary Degrees looks to sustained and characteristic activity as its warrant: uncommonly meritorious activity exhibiting values that are esteemed by a great university.

Lovell regularly gives talks about leadership and his experiences as a test pilot, astronaut and businessman. He lives in Illinois with his wife, Marilyn; they have four children, 11 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.