Steve Fossett is one of the world’s most accomplished adventurers. Whether sailing around the world, swimming the English Channel or flying high-altitude gliders, he always rises to the challenge. Fossett received an honorary doctor of science degree in 2006.
The holder of current official world records in five sports, he became the first person to complete a solo round-the-world balloon flight after working toward the record for seven years. The flight, his sixth attempt at the record, launched from Northam in Western Australia, on June 19, 2002, and returned to Queensland, Australia, on July 4, 2002.
During his historic circumnavigation of the world, Fossett traveled 20,602 miles, reached speeds of up to 204 miles per hour, and flew as high as 34,700 feet. Washington University served as mission control for this flight as well as three other of his balloon flights, including his 1998 launch from the old Busch Stadium.
An adventurer in life and business
Fossett’s spirit of adventure also is apparent in his business enterprises. He founded and managed Lakota Trading Inc., a major exchange floor market-making firm. He was a member of the New York Stock Exchange for 26 years.
Born in Jackson, Tenn., in 1944, Fossett earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Stanford University in 1966 and a master’s degree in business administration from Washington University in 1968. He received the John M. Olin School of Business Distinguished Alumni Award in 1995.
A member of the university’s board of trustees since 1995, he also serves on the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America and is a member of the World Scout Committee.