People: UConn grad speech coming from on high
University of Connecticut alumnus Rick Mastracchio would have liked to deliver this year’s graduation address to the school of engineering in person. But he’ll be out of town on May 10 – orbiting the globe on the International Space Station.
So UConn has arranged for the 54-year-old astronaut give the speech from space.
His recorded address will be shown on the video boards at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Conn., to about 5,000 people, including more than 400 graduating seniors and their families, and several members of Mastracchio’s family, including his wife, Candi.
Mastracchio, a Waterbury native who earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and computer engineering from UConn in 1982, will receive an honorary doctorate.
He is wrapping up his fourth trip into space, an eight-month stint aboard the space station, and has spent more than 51 hours on space walks outside the orbiting laboratory.
He recorded the speech over the weekend and beamed it back to NASA, which was converting the file Thursday to send to UConn.
Memphis ready for royal visit
There’s nothing confirmed, but Tennessee is abuzz with speculation whether Princes William and Harry will travel to Memphis for the weekend wedding of a friend.
A C Wharton Jr., mayor of this Tennessee city famous for Blues music, said Memphis is ready to host the British royals should they decide to attend what he describes as a strictly private affair. But he has given no official indication whether they actually planned to show up at Saturday’s wedding.
Heroin ‘likely’ a factor in Geldof’s death
Heroin likely contributed to the sudden death of British model and television personality Peaches Geldof, a British inquest revealed Thursday – a sad echo of the life of the 25-year-old’s mother, who died of a heroin overdose when Geldof was young.
Geldof, the second daughter of Live Aid organizer Bob Geldof and late television presenter Paula Yates, was found by her husband, Thomas Cohen, on April 7 in a spare bedroom at their home in Kent, southeast of London.
While the initial results from a post-mortem examination were inconclusive, forensic samples confirmed that Geldof had recently used heroin, with the levels identified “likely to have played a role” in her death, Detective Chief Inspector Paul Fotheringham of Kent Police told the inquest.
Cohen had been away with the couple’s older son, 23-month-old Astala, while Geldof had been home alone with their 11-month-old son Phaedra.
The birthday bunch
Actor Theodore Bikel is 90. Singer Engelbert Humperdinck is 78. Actress-activist Bianca Jagger is 69. Singer Lesley Gore is 68. Actress Christine Baranski is 62. Wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock) is 42. David Beckham is 39.