Go For Orbit: Astronaut Dr. Rhea Seddon


How did a small-town girl become a surgeon and one of the first six women astronauts for NASA in 1978?

Discover how Dr. Rhea Seddon navigated a man’s world to accomplish her dream of conducting medical experiments in space, and what it took to become a healthcare leader at the Vanderbilt Medical Group for over a decade. And, this ATHENA Award winner didn’t stop there – she is now a popular national speaker, and recently published her memoir Go For Orbit.  Dr. Seddon’s tale of opportunities and mentors weaves a remarkable career journey that will inspire you to reach for the stars.

This community event is free and open to the public.


A veteran of three space shuttle flights, Dr. Rhea Seddon spent 19 years with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In 1978 she was selected as one of the first six women to enter the Astronaut Program.  After leaving NASA in 1996, Dr. Seddon was the Assistant Chief Medical Officer of the Vanderbilt Medical Group in Nashville for 11 years.  She is one of the founders of LifeWings Partners, LLC which teaches teamwork and communication skills to healthcare institutions across the United States. A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in physiology, Dr. Seddon received her M.D. degree from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Memphis, where she completed her residency in General Surgery.  


Dr. Seddon's visit is possible thanks to the generosity of our sponsors.

THANK YOU to the Women’s and Gender Studies Department; the Ed and Bunny Renouard Distinguished Lecture Series in the School of Engineering & Applied Science; the Academic Vice President; the Smith Family Chair in Medicine at the University of Washington Medical School; the College of Arts & Sciences; the Departments of Chemistry, Biology, and Mathematics; the Faculty Speaker Series; the Comprehensive Leadership Program; and the Gonzaga Study Body Association Speakers Fund.

Guests are advised to park in the BARC Parking Structure, accessible from both Boone and Desmet Avenues off of Hamilton Street. A Gonzaga Campus Map is available here.

Questions? Contact Dr. Ann Ciasullo.