- Associated Press - Sunday, December 14, 2014

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - NASA chief Charles Bolden Jr. has told University of Michigan graduates that it’s their time and responsibility to lead the next generation.

Bolden delivered the annual winter commencement speech Sunday on the school’s Ann Arbor campus.

He is the 12th administrator of NASA and the first African-American in the role. He has been on four space flights, commanded two missions and piloted the space shuttle Discovery, which deployed the Hubble Space Telescope in 1990.

Bolden also received an honorary Doctor of Science degree Sunday.

The Ann Arbor News reports that Bolden called graduates part of “the space generation.”

“Your generation is going to take the things that people of my generation started and make them your own,” he said. “It’s time for you to go out and challenge the status quo … and enrich the future.

“My advice for you is quite simple: Dream big dreams. Do what you want to do. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you you can’t do something or don’t belong somewhere, and don’t let any opportunity pass you by.”

Other honorary degree recipients included Susanne Baer, a justice on German’s Federal Constitutional Court; Ralph Cicerone, a top atmospheric scientist and the National Academy of Sciences president; and Dr. Hamilton Smith, the winner of the 1978 Nobel Prize in medicine.

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