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Sunday, June 26, 2022

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BREAKING: Commencement speaker announced for spring graduation

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Scott Kelly, a retired astronaut, will speak at Commencement on May 14. | Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The University announced Friday that retired astronaut Scott Kelly will deliver the commencement address to graduates at the university-wide commencement inside of TDECU Stadium in two weeks.

Before retiring, Kelly spent 20 years at NASA and is a decorated astronaut, including holding the title as the first American to spend an entire year in space, from March 2015 until March 2016.

Kelly also participated in an unprecedented program while at NASA, the Twins Study, which was conducted with his twin brother and fellow astronaut, Mark. The study researched the effects space has on a body by observing Scott in space and Mark in a control environment on earth.

Scott is also a decorated 25-year veteran of the U.S. Navy. At the time of his retirement, he was a Captain.

“Scott Kelly represents innovation and a passionate commitment to discovery,” University of Houston President Renu Khator said in a news release. “He embodies the pursuit of excellence. Embracing that relentless drive for whatever you are passionate about is my wish for our graduates as they embark on their own exciting journeys out in the world.”

According to the Houston Chronicle, a spokesperson for the university announced that school will pay Kelly $35,000 for speaking at the commencement. The speaker at last year’s event, actor Matthew McConaughey, earned $100,000 more than Kelly will be paid for speaking. The school also paid $9,500 for a private plane to fly McConaughey to Houston.

The university will pay for any airfare, transportation and lodging for Kelly when he comes to speak.

Commencement will take place at 7 p.m. May 14 in TDECU Stadium. More than 5,000 graduates are expected to attend.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with information regarding what Kelly will be paid for speaking at the commencement.

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