Albion College announces NASA astronaut as Commencement speaker

Albion College’s first astronaut, Josh Cassada, ’95, will be the keynote speaker at the 2023 Commencement Ceremony at 1 p.m., April 29.

Josh came to Albion College from a small town in Minnesota. He brought with him the dream of becoming an astronaut and a great deal of Midwestern determination. While on campus, he developed what he now calls his ‘academic courage,’ nurtured by his family, friends and the faculty mentors he developed at Albion.

Leaning on his academic courage throughout his academic and professional career, Josh achieved his dream when NASA selected him in 2013. Currently, he is a physicist and U.S. Navy test pilot. Before becoming a naval aviator, Cassada earned his bachelor’s degree in physics at Albion College, graduating summa cum laude, and his doctorate at the University of Rochester, conducting experimental high-energy physics research at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

Josh returned to Earth March 11 after spending 157 days aboard the International Space Station. He was the pilot of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission and conducted three spacewalks that totaled 21 hours. During its mission, the crew contributed to hundreds of experiments and technology demonstrations, including cardiovascular health, bioprinting, and fluid behavior in microgravity, to prepare for human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit and to benefit life on Earth.

Albion College reached for the stars to select its 2023 commencement speaker and is fortunate to welcome Josh back to his alma mater.