Alumnus Steve Swanson’s Achievements Have Made For a Stellar Career

Taking a selfie while walking down the street is about as common today as walking itself … but what about taking one while floating in outer space?

FAU Alumnus and Astronaut Steve Swanson takes the first selfie in space.


By amy-haycock | 7/10/2015

Taking a selfie while walking down the street is about as common today as walking itself … but what about taking one while floating in outer space? This astronomical feat was accomplished by Florida Atlantic University alumnus Steve Swanson, when the astronaut posted the first selfie from space to Instagram.

Swanson’s achievements, both near and far, have made for a stellar career. Throughout a seven-year span, he has made three trips to the International Space Station (ISS), returning from his most recent mission in November 2014.

Swanson received a Master of Applied Science degree in computer systems in 1986, and he has stayed connected to FAU ever since. In June 2007, while serving as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis, Swanson carried an FAU flag with alumni pins attached to it while traveling to the ISS to deliver a truss segment and new solar arrays. This very flag now hangs in the main lobby of the Marleen & Harold Forkas Alumni Center in the heart of the Boca Raton campus as a tribute to Swanson’s endeavors.

“FAU provided me with an excellent education in computer science,” said Swanson. “It was a rigid program and it really prepared me for my career.” 

Shortly after graduating from FAU, Swanson joined the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). He started as a systems engineer in 1987 in the Aircraft Operations Division of Johnson Space Center, working on the Shuttle Training Aircraft. Over the years he has received the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, the Johnson Space Center Certificate of Accommodation and the Flight Simulation Engineering Award.

The FAU Alumni Association (FAUAA) inducted Swanson into its Hall of Fame in fall 2007. Established by the FAUAA in 1985, the Hall of Fame award recognizes distinguished alumni who demonstrate exceptional service and commitment to their profession and to the community. Swanson also is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.

Clearly Swanson continues to inspire many. In fact, during each commencement ceremony at FAU, President John Kelly encourages all graduates to take a selfie in honor of an alumnus whose accomplishments are simply out of this world.

Be sure to join the FAUAA in celebrating the unique successes of our graduates throughout 2015 by visiting www.itstartedatfau.org.

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