Astronaut, photographer announced as 2016 commencement speakers

Astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, left, will deliver the graduate commencement address on May 17, while  ​Brandon Stanton, photographer and founder of the popular Humans of New York photo blog will give the undergraduate commencement speech on May 19. (Photos courtesy of Kean University)

Astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, left, will deliver the graduate commencement address on May 17, while ​Brandon Stanton, founder of the Humans of New York photo blog, will give the undergraduate commencement speech on May 19. (Photos courtesy of Kean University)

By Anthony N. Muccigrossi | Published April 7, 2016

With just over a month before Kean students cross the stage and become graduates, the commencement speakers who will be accompanying them have been announced.

Photographer Brandon Stanton — the creator of Humans of New York — and astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, who has over 50 days in space with NASA, have been announced as the 2016 undergraduate and graduate commencement speakers, according to a release by the university.

“Brandon Stanton and Captain Kelly are inspirations for all of us, most especially our students who are about to launch their careers,” said President Dawood Farahi in a statement.

Stanton will deliver the undergraduate commencement address on May 19, at the Prudential Center in Newark. Captain Kelly will deliver the graduate commencement address on May 17, at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, NJ, the release stated.

Stanton began Humans of New York in 2010, and has captured over 10,000 photographs, which are usually accompanied by quotes or a story about the person photographed, the release said.

Stanton has also become a #1 New York Times best-selling author, of his book: Humans of New York, according to his website.

Captain Kelly’s career with NASA has taken him to the International Space station four different times, which makes him one of the only two people who have done so, the release indicated.

Kelly was also responsible for commanding the Space Shuttle Discovery and Space Shuttle Endeavor; the final flight was in May of 2011, the release stated.

Among Kelly’s many accomplishments with NASA, his Twitter describes him as also being a Navy combat veteran. Kelly also shares being a #1 New York Times best-selling author of his book, “Gabby: A story of Courage, Love and Resilience,” the release stated. The book was also written by his wife, Gabrielle Giffords, with Jeffrey Zaslow, the book cover indicated.

“In very different ways, both have advanced our understanding of the world and each other through their leadership, commitment and curiosity to better understand earth and its inhabitants,” Farahi said in a statement. 

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