Leland MelvinUniversity of Richmond alumnus Leland Melvin, a former astronaut and NFL wide receiver, will return to his alma mater during Homecoming weekend to discuss his memoir, “Chasing Space: An Astronaut’s Story of Grit, Grace, and Second Chances.”

“I’m excited to share my journey from UR to the cosmos," Melvin said, "including how to overcome adversity, which I found critical to preparing one for success. I hope my story encourages others to dream big and reach for the stars.”

Melvin retired from NASA in 2014 after flying two missions to space and implementing education programs inspiring interest in science and technology. He also served as the co-chair of the White House’s Federal Coordination in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education Task Force committee, developing the nation’s five-year education plan. He is the host of the Lifetime show “Child Genius” and a judge for ABC’s “BattleBots.”

“Not only is Leland’s story of determination and perseverance powerful, but his commitment to sharing that story to create positive change models the inspiring leadership qualities that we work to instill in our students,” Jepson Dean Sandra J. Peart said.

Melvin’s visit is part of the programming to honor the Jepson School of Leadership Studies’ 25th anniversary. The school was the first of its kind in the world and has grown to include 15 full-time faculty members and 1,400 global alumni who have pursued careers in healthcare, finance, government, education and nonprofit industries. Melvin was the Jepson School’s 2008-09 leader-in-residence. 

Founded with a gift from 1964 Richmond alum Robert S. Jepson Jr. and his wife, Alice, the Jepson School of Leadership Studies opened in fall 1992 with the purpose of educating students about leadership so they can become active, thoughtful and effective participants in the world. Anniversary events will continue throughout the school year and will emphasize the need for responsible leadership throughout all organizations and industries.

“As we enter our next quarter century, the Jepson School is committed to building upon our strength in educating and developing young leaders, finding new ways to augment our visibility and continuing to be the very best leadership studies scholars and teachers,” Peart said.

# # #

About the event
What: Book discussion, signing, and reception with Leland Melvin, UR alum and author of “Chasing Space: An Astronaut’s Story of Grit, Grace, and Second Chances”
Date: Thursday, Oct. 26
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Center for the Arts
Tickets: Free and open to the public
Note: Media interested in speaking with the author should contact Pryor Green for availability between 4 and 5 p.m. on Oct. 26. 

Dean, E. Claiborne Robins Distinguished Professor in Leadership Studies
Ethics and Economics
Leadership Ethics
History of Economic Thought
History of Political Economy
Experimental Economics