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Class of '66, Retired NASA Astronaut and Space Shuttle Commander to Address Suffolk Graduation

Retired NASA Astronaut, Space Shuttle Commander and 1966 graduate, Robert “Hoot” Gibson” (Captain, USN Ret.) will deliver the Suffolk County Community College 2017 keynote commencement speech at the college’s May 21, 2017 graduation ceremony. Gibson will present the college with a Suffolk County Community College pennant he took into space.

“Robert Gibson is a homegrown inspiration to all Suffolk County Community College students, as well as students from our local high schools and communities,” said Suffolk County Community College President Dr. Shaun L. McKay. “Who among our graduates will be the next Hoot Gibson?” McKay asked.

Gibson is a 1964 Huntington High School graduate and earned an associate degree in engineering science from Suffolk County Community College in 1966. Gibson earned a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering from California Polytechnic State University in 1969.

Selected by NASA in January 1978, Gibson became an astronaut in August 1979 and commanded four of the five space shuttle missions he flew.

Gibson, who is married to shuttle astronaut Dr. Rhea Seddon, retired from NASA in 1996. He was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2003.

Suffolk County Community College will graduate 4,174 students at its Sunday May 21 commencement ceremony, the college’s 55th. The ceremony will be held at the college’s Michael J. Grant Campus in Brentwood, in the Health Sports and Education Center fieldhouse beginning at 10 a.m. The ceremony will be livestreamed. The link will be available at the college's website at

Gibson’s NASA bio