FAU to Host Alumnus, Retired NASA Astronaut Steve Swanson

Swanson will deliver an interactive lecture about his time as an astronaut in the NASA space program, including a 30-minute presentation of his time at the International Space Station.

FAU alumnus and retired NASA astronaut Steve Swanson was the first astronaut to post the first selfie from space to Instagram.


By lisa-metcalf | 10/28/2015

Florida Atlantic University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science will host a presentation by FAU alumnus and retired NASA astronaut Steve Swanson ’86 on Friday, Oct. 30 at 10:30 a.m. in the Grand Palm Room of FAU’s Student Union, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus. Media interviews will take place at 10 a.m. in the VIP room of the Carole and Barry Kaye Auditorium of the FAU Student Union. To RSVP for media interviews, contact Lisa Metcalf at 561-297-3022 or lmetcalf@fau.edu.

During his presentation, Swanson will deliver a dynamic and interactive lecture about his time as an astronaut in the NASA space program, which will include a 30-minute video presentation of his journey in space and his time at the International Space Station (ISS). 

Students from Margate Middle School; McNicol Middle School; FAU High School; Olympic Heights High School; Blanche Ely High School; Dillard middle and high schools; and Stranahan High School will be in attendance and will participate in a Q&A session with Swanson at the conclusion of his presentation.

In a span of seven years, Swanson made three trips to the ISS returning from his most recent mission aboard Russian spacecraft Soyuz TMA-12M in November 2014. Swanson joined NASA as a systems engineer in 1987 in the Aircraft Operations Division of Johnson Space Center, working on the Shuttle Training Aircraft.

In June 2007, while serving as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis, he carried an FAU flag with alumni pins attached to it while traveling to the ISS to deliver a truss segment and new solar arrays. The flag now hangs in the main lobby of the Marleen and Harold Forkas Alumni Center on FAU’s Boca Raton campus. Swanson is also the first astronaut to post the first selfie from space to Instagram.

Swanson is the recipient of the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, the Johnson Space Center Certificate of Accommodation and the Flight Simulation Engineering Award. He also was inducted into the FAU Alumni Association (FAUAA) Hall of Fame in 2007. Swanson will receive the 2015 FAUAA Talon Leadership Award on Thursday, Oct. 29, and will serve as the grand marshal of FAU’s Homecoming parade on Saturday, Oct. 31. 

Swanson graduated from Steamboat Springs High School in Steamboat Springs, Colorado in 1979. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering physics from the University of Colorado in 1983, a Master of Applied Science in computer systems from FAU in 1986 and a doctorate in computer science from Texas A&M University in 1998.

This event will be co-hosted by Amir Abtahi, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Ocean and Mechanical Engineering and Trudy Jeffries, project specialist in the Office of the Dean of FAU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science. 

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