Space Expert Beth Mund to Deliver Keynote Address at Loras Commencement

Loras College alumna Beth Mund (’96) will return to her alma mater to deliver the keynote address at the College’s 184th Commencement ceremony on May 20.

“I am delighted that Beth accepted my invitation to serve as this year’s Commencement speaker,” Loras College President Jim Collins said. “Her enthusiasm and deep love for Loras have been manifested in any number of ways. Further, her distinguished achievements in space exploration and science are laudable. This academic year marks the 50th anniversary of Loras becoming co-educational. I think Beth represents the brilliant outcome for Loras having made such a bold decision in 1972.”

 A former NASA public affairs officer for the Johnson Space Center, Mund has established herself as a prominent voice on space exploration and innovation. Working with NASA senior management to effectively communicate the achievements of the International Space Station, Beth wrote speeches, advised NASA management, supported national education outreach events, organized astronaut crew Welcome Home events, and shared the success of the ISS. On Feb. 1, 2003, she was part of the public affairs team that helped the world understand the tragic Columbia explosion.

“Working at NASA was just an idea for years,” Beth noted. “My professors at Loras both challenged and encouraged me to do the fundamental work that would allow me to move from ‘just an idea’ into to a defined career path as a science communicator.” 

Today, Beth Mund works as the executive director and founder of the STORIES of Space Project, an open-source global project launching original story submissions written by and submitted from people around the world about space into space. The first collection of stories from her project will launch to the ISS on a SpaceX rocket this June, where they will orbit the Earth for 6 months.

“Everyone is and wants to feel connected to space in some way,” Mund says. “Writing and sending stories to space is just one way we all can experience a connection to space, and I feel honored to provide this unique kind of access to space.”

Mund also produces the Casual Space Podcast, where she hosts weekly conversations with astronauts, and artists, scientists and CEOs looking to inspire the next generation of explorers.

Beth Mund has completed two space missions as an analog astronaut: one Mars simulation where she spent a month living on an active volcano in Hawaii, and a lunar simulation where she spent a month in an underground WWII abandoned bunker at the Lunares facility in Poland.

“No matter where I go in the world, Loras holds a special place in my heart. Who I am today, and who I have become has been shaped by my Loras experience, and for that I’ll be forever grateful.”

Mund is currently a board member of the Loras Women’s Leadership Alliance and serves as a mentor for current students. She resides in St. Charles, Ill. with her husband, Chad and their two children.

Loras’ Commencement ceremony will be held in the Rock Bowl Stadium at 1:30 p.m. The ceremony will be streamed live at