Skip To Content

Cedar Crest Students Blast off to Their Future Following Commencement Keynote from NASA Deputy

Casey Swails Portrait

Cedar Crest College is proud to announce Casey Swails, Deputy Associate Administrator at NASA, as keynote speaker for this year’s 154th Commencement Ceremony.  

This announcement comes on the heels of Cedar Crest College securing the TOWERS Award from NASA in 2023 – a three–year, $750,000 grant aimed at addressing the gender gap in STEM fields. Cedar Crest was one of only seven colleges awarded the funding, recognition that underscores the College’s commitment to fostering female leadership and advancement.  

The 154th Commencement Ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 11, 2024, at the PPL Center at 701 Hamilton Street, Allentown. The day serves as both a celebration of student achievement and a culmination of a week of related events, including Espejo: Reflections of Our Community on Thursday and the College’s Awards and Graduate Hooding Ceremonies held on Friday. 

In addition to Swails’ remarks, students, families, faculty, and staff in attendance at Commencement will be addressed by Cedar Crest President Dr. Elizabeth M. Meade. Tickets are required. Those who are unable to attend can watch a live stream of the ceremony on Cedar Crest’s YouTube page  For more information, please visit   

About the Speaker: 

As NASA’s Deputy Chief Operating Officer, Swails serves as principal advisor to the Associate Administrator, overseeing daily operations and strategic direction for more than 18,000 employees across NASA’s ten field centers, mission directorates, and staff organizations. Swails is instrumental in establishing the overall strategy, framework, and structure for NASA’s integrated mission support portfolio and spearheads the advancement of the agency’s industry partnerships. 

In addition to her role as Deputy Associate Administrator, Swails leads NASA 2040, a strategic initiative aimed at ensuring NASA remains at the forefront of research, technology, and engineering to lead science, aeronautics, and space exploration for humanity. 

Prior to her current position, Swails served as NASA’s acting Deputy Chief of Staff during the presidential transition, where she played a key role in ensuring the effective flow of operations across the agency’s workforce and represented NASA in aligning policy, strategy, priorities, and program development. She has also led significant change management initiatives, including the largest human capital transformation effort in NASA’s history, and led the creation of the agencywide Executive Services Division to attract, retain, and develop senior NASA leaders. 

Swails holds a Bachelor of Science in management from the Georgia Institute of Technology, a Master of Business Administration from Duke University, and has completed executive education programs at Harvard Business School and INSEAD. She is a fellow in the International Women’s Forum and has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the Gears of Government Award, the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, the NASA Silver Achievement Medal, the Silver Snoopy Award, and the Johnson Space Center Director’s Innovation Award.