Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

March 19, 2004

Roberta Bondar to speak at ‘Last Lecture’ for graduating students

Roberta Bondar, Canada’s first female astronaut in space and a University of Guelph graduate, will speak March 29 at the university’s annual "Last Lecture" which is designed to give graduating students an opportunity to reflect on their experiences at Guelph and celebrate their accomplishments.

The event begins at 6 p.m. in War Memorial Hall and will also include talks by Guelph drama professor Judith Thompson and graduating student Rebecca Philbrook.

Bondar completed a bachelor of science degree in agriculture and zoology at U of G, a master’s degree at the University of Western Ontario, a PhD at the University of Toronto and a medical degree at McMaster University. In 1992, she went into space aboard the shuttle Discovery. For more than a decade, she headed an international medical research team studying the effects of short- and long-term space flight on cerebral blood flow in astronauts.

Bondar was recently inducted into the International Women’s Forum International Hall of Fame and installed as the chancellor of Trent University. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a member of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, and an Officer of the Order of Canada. She has also received the NASA Space Medal and 24 honorary doctorates from North American universities, including U of G in 1990.

An accomplished photographer, Bondar participated in the National Gallery of Canada’s “Science and Photography: Beauty of Another Order” exhibition. She has published two books on the Earth’s landscapes: Passionate Vision and Canada: Landscape of Dreams.

Thompson, renowned playwright and a professor in the School of English and Theatre Studies, is a two-time winner of the Governor General's Literary Award for Drama for The Other Side of the Dark and White Biting Dog. She also received the Floyd S. Chalmers Canadian Play Award for Lion in the Streets and I Am Yours and Genie Award nominations for the screenplay adaptations of Perfect Pie and Lost and Delirious. Thompson’s most recent play, Capture Me, premiered at Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre in January.

Philbrook, who will graduate this spring with bachelor of arts degree in English and French, was chosen by a selection committee to give the student lecture. She received the Nancy Stoten Memorial Scholarship, the College of Arts Student Union Book Prize and the Belgian Consulate award for promoting francophone culture on campus. Philbrook’s presentation integrates this year’s Last Lecture theme, “Follow your Dreams,” offering a retrospective on her four years at U of G and a look forward to future possibilities.

A reception sponsored by the U of G Alumni Association at the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre will follow the event. For more information, contact Zdravko Gunjevic in Student Life and Career Services, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 52498.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.

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