Leland Melvin - Contributed photo

UW Bothell commencement speaker is NFL draftee, astronaut

  • Thursday, March 30, 2017 1:30am
  • News

Leland Melvin was drafted in the National Football League and went on to become an astronaut, but only after overcoming injury with a perseverance he’ll describe as the commencement speaker for the University of Washington Bothell’s 2017 graduating class. Melvin will speak in front of graduates, family and friends at Safeco Field. The ceremony begins at 4 p.m. June 13.

He uses his life story to inspire the next generation of explorers to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.

“Leland Melvin’s story reflects so much of what makes our own UW Bothell experience and our community unique,” says Chancellor Wolf Yeigh. “His career spans multiple disciplines. He’s an astronaut, athlete, scientist, photographer and musician. His story is one of perseverance and connecting innovation to the community.”

Growing up in Virginia, Melvin set records as a wide receiver at the University of Richmond and was drafted by the Detroit Lions in 1986. However, a promising career with the Lions was cut short by a hamstring injury, which later prevented him from making the final roster with the Dallas Cowboys.

With degrees in chemistry and materials science, Melvin went to work at NASA’s Langley Research Center. He was selected as an astronaut in 1998. While training, Melvin suffered another medical setback, losing his hearing. After it was partially restored, he made two space shuttle flights in 2008 and 2009 aboard the Atlantis to the International Space Station.

The 53-year-old who lives in Lynchburg, Virginia, is an advocate for education and spaceflight. Melvin tells of persevering over adversity in his book “An Astronaut’s Story of Grit, Grace and Second Chances.”

More in News

The city of Bothell has purchased the final five acres of the “Back 9” on the former Wayne Golf Course. Reporter file photo
Bothell buys last five acres of ‘Back 9’ on former Wayne Golf Course

Forterra purchased the property in early 2016 to give the city of Bothell time to arrange financing.

Mary Lynn Pannen, founder and CEO of Sound Options, has consulted thousands of Washington families on geriatric care for 30 years. Photo courtesy of Sound Options.
Elder abuse cases are on the rise in Washington

Local agencies and geriatric care managers aim to increase public awareness about the epidemic.

UW Bothell pursuing state funds to boost STEM enrollment

The biomedical industry is looking for graduates and the university is seeking $1.5M to produce more of them.

Bothell buys time to preserve Shelton View Forest

Citizens encouraged the council to renew its commitment to preserving green space in the city.

Bothell City Hall. Katie Metzger/staff photo
Bothell council unanimously passes city budget

City faces financial challenges in meeting demand for, and cost of, services with current revenues.

New hotel breaks ground in Kenmore’s Saint Edward Park

The old seminary building in the park will be preserved and turned into a lodge, opening in 2020.

Northshore School District hosts holiday concerts

All events are open to the public and are held at the school unless otherwise noted.

Snohomish County approves 2019 budget

Public safety, affordable housing, economic development, and fiscal accountability are top priorities.

Suspect steals 85-year-old’s cell phone | Police blotter

The Bothell police blotter for Nov. 26 through 28.

Most Read