ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Former NASA astronaut Leland Melvin will be delivering the 10th annual Bunshaft Lecture at the University at Albany’s Performing Arts Center. The event is scheduled for October 5 at 7 p.m.

Prior to his NASA career, Melvin was selected in the 11th round of the 1986 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions, and would eventually sign with the Dallas Cowboys in 1987, before suffering a career-ending hamstring injury. After returning to college to earn a master’s degree in material science engineering, Melvin began working for NASA, and was selected to be an astronaut in 1998.

Melvin would go on to fly in two missions on the Space Shuttle Atlantis to the International Space Station in 2008 and 2009, during which he delivered the Columbus science laboratory to the station as well as supplies and scientific equipment. In 2017, he released his memoir, “Chasing Space: An Astronaut’s Story of Grit, Grace, and Second Chances”, in which he recounts his journey from the football field to space.

“I believe my purpose and passion is to help inspire that next generation of explorers,” said Melvin. “And I truly think that’s my calling as I reflect on some of the things that have happened in my life.”

“Leland Melvin serves as an outstanding role model to today’s engineering and computer science students —he provides first-hand evidence that perseverance is tremendously important as we move along our path of education and professional opportunities,” said College of Nanotechnology, Science, and Engineering Dean Michele J. Grimm. “We are excited to welcome him to campus, and we are ever grateful for the support that Al and Caryn Bunshaft continue to provide to our students and programs.”

UAlbany’s Performing Arts Center is located at 1400 Washington Avenue. The event is free and open to the public.