The following is a shortened version of a story on the UCF Alumni blog. Read the full version here.

Before the federal prison on Alcatraz Island off the coast of San Francisco closed in 1963, John Craig ’72, lived in one of its employee-housing units, far away from the prison population.

Craig’s father, Victor, oversaw the dining program for the prison, which had been built to incarcerate those who were deemed too difficult to incarcerate elsewhere.

Craig graduated from Galileo High School in San Francisco in 1959 and said he didn’t think much about the significance of living on Alcatraz until later. After graduation, Craig enlisted into the U.S. Navy and served two tours in Vietnam. He worked on three different ships, two destroyers and a cruiser, where he manned the radar and served as an electronics technician.

After his discharge from the Navy, Craig moved to Cocoa Beach, Florida, where his parents had relocated. Because of his work experience in the Navy, he was snatched up by NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to work in its astronaut simulation headquarters as a technician. He also began taking classes at Brevard Junior College and eventually transferred to Florida Technological University, now known as the University of Central Florida, where he earned a bachelor’s in general studies.

Learn more about Craig’s journey to and after UCF by reading the full story on the UCF Alumni blog.