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Scott Kelly
Scott Kelly

Tickets to attend the August 15 Life of the Mind event featuring Scott Kelly, the US astronaut who recently returned from a record-breaking year in space, will be available starting August 1.

The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. in Thompson-Boling Arena.

A limited number of the tickets, which are free, will be available for the campus community and the general public. Individuals are limited to four tickets.

UT faculty and staff can pick up tickets in the First–Year Studies office, Room 217 of Greve Hall. General public tickets will be available from the ticket office in Thompson-Boling Arena and at Union Avenue Bookstore, 517 Union Avenue, Knoxville.

Kelly’s visit celebrates the Life of the Mind program, part of First-Year Studies 100, a zero-credit pass-fail class that gives new students their first taste of college studies. As part of the 2016–17 program, freshmen are asked to read Leaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight by Margaret Lazarus Dean, an associate professor of EnglishStudents are also asked to complete a written response to the book, participate in a Welcome Week discussion session, and attend the Scott Kelly event.

Margaret Lazarus Dean
Margaret Lazarus Dean

Dean and Kelly, who is a UT graduate, are currently collaborating on a book that will explore the future of space travel and tell Kelly’s story about his historic mission. Endurance: My Year in Space and Our Journey to Mars is scheduled for publication in November 2017.

The event will be a discussion between Dean and Kelly.

Afterward, a community fair will be held in Thompson-Boling Arena. Those attending may have a chance to meet Dean and have her sign their copy of Leaving Orbit. They may also have the chance to meet Kelly and get his autograph.

Kelly’s space stay helped lay the groundwork for the future of space travel and exploration. During the event, Kelly will talk about some of the life lessons he’s learned during his twenty years with NASA and on his most recent yearlong, 143-million mile adventure—including lessons on leadership and teamwork, personal stories of perseverance, and the path that led him to secure his place in history.

leaving-orbit-dean-200x300Kelly’s historic mission lasted from March 2015 to March 2016. He and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko conducted experiments, reconfigured station modules, and captivated the world with live interviews and photos from the International Space Station.

The mission also included the Twins Study, in which Kelly’s identical twin brother, retired NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, served on the ground as a control model in an unprecedented experiment to understand how space affects the human body.

Prior to his career with NASA, Kelly served twenty-five years in the US Navy, retiring as an experienced aviator and decorated captain.

Doors to Thompson-Boling Arena will open at 4:00 p.m., and standard security protocol will be in place. For faster admission, those attending should not carry bags or purses. Public parking will be available in the G-10 parking garage on Phillip Fulmer Way near the arena.


Stella Bridgeman-Prince, First-Year Studies (865-974-3523,

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034 or 985-333-8128,