Captain Scott Kelly

History-Making U.S. Astronaut & Retired U.S. Navy Captain to address the university-wide Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, May 21, 2017.

Back from his historic record-breaking year in space, NASA astronaut Captain Scott Kelly has laid the groundwork for the future of space travel and exploration, and is a true pioneer of our time. The world remains in awe – his Twitter following is at 3.24 million! – as we celebrate a hero’s return to the planet that is home from an adventure that is extraordinary.

With life lessons and personal stories that reveal unique and valuable advice on pushing one’s own limits, to insight on the leadership and teamwork required in such demanding conditions, and the challenges – such as long term deprivation from loved ones and Planet Earth – Captain Kelly’s commencement address will reflect on the choices and life events that paved his journey’s path.

An astronaut since 1996, Kelly’s achievements over his illustrious 20-year career with NASA earned him the coveted position as America’s first year-round astronaut. On his historic mission that spanned from March 2015 to March 2016, Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko conducted experiments, reconfigured station modules, and captivated the world with live interviews and never-seen-before photos from the International Space Station. The historic mission also included NASA’s groundbreaking Twins Study, in which Kelly’s identical twin brother, retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, served on the ground as a control model in an unprecedented experiment to understand how space affects the human body.

In recognition of his work, Kelly has received numerous special honors and awards from NASA, the U.S. Navy, U.S. Department of Defense, and an Honorary Doctorate of Science degree from SUNY Maritime. Prior to his career with NASA, Kelly served 25 years in the U.S. Navy, retiring as an experienced aviator and decorated Captain. He has logged over 8,000 hours in more than 40 different aircraft and spacecraft and has over 250 carrier landings. Kelly holds a United States Coast Guard Third Mate’s license. Born in Orange, New Jersey, Kelly received a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from SUNY Maritime and a Master of Science degree in Aviation Systems from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.


Captain Kelly’s commencement address is made possible by support from the University at Albany Speaker Series, which brings renowned guest speakers from across the globe to campus in order to engage the University community in compelling and purposeful discussions addressing contemporary issues and events. Since its inception in 2008, it has featured such icons as President Bill Clinton, Colin Powell, Barbara Walters, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Bill Nye, and, most recently, Brandon Stanton.