Astronaut Rick Mastracchio, wearing his Extravehicular Mobility Unit spacesuit, June 18, 2013.
May 2, 2014 7:31 AM EDT

The University of Connecticut’s School of Engineering is nixing the podium for its graduation speaker this month and opting instead for something a little more cosmic. Astronaut and alumnus Rick Mastracchio was tapped as the school’s graduation speaker, but because he will be orbiting the Earth on May 10, he’ll be delivering his speech from outer space.

Mastracchio’s message will be prerecorded and broadcast to the class of 2014, marking the first time school’s address has been delivered from such a far out location. The school’s dean told the Associated Press the novelty of it makes him a bit nervous. “We have never tried anything like this before, and I know that the world will be watching us. So, while I’m excited, I still have to have my fingers crossed,” said Kazem Kazerounian, the dean of the engineering school.

Although it’s new for UConn, it’s not the first time a speech has been given from space: The University of North Dakota has twice had its address delivered by a working astronaut.


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