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Still Flying High

Still Flying HighCanada’sfirst female astronaut – who conducted post-graduate researchat Tufts – is appointed Chancellor of Trent University. Peterborough,Ontario

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [01.31.03] Though Roberta Bondar is best knownas Canada’s first woman to travel into space, the astronautalso has an accomplished career as a scientist and researcher.Bondar spent more than 18 years studying at some of the world’sleading institutions of higher education – including a post-graduateresearch position at Tufts-New England Medical Center –and is often billed as the most degreed person from any countryto have been sent into space. Last week, the Tufts-trained scientisttook on a new role when she was appointed chancellor of TrentUniversity – one of the highest ranked universities in Canada.

“I am very pleased to accept the role of Chancellor at TrentUniversity,” Bondar said in a report on Canada NewsWire.“In all my endeavors and travels, I have come to value howmy educational experiences at the undergraduate and graduate levelshave helped me to understand our world and shape me as an individual.”

The announcement wasmade on Jan. 22 – exactly 11 years after the day Bondarbegan her eight-day mission aboard the space shuttle Discovery.

“Dr.Bondar is an exceptionally qualified candidate to serve as Chancellor,”Trent University officials said in a statement announcing herselection.

The appointment tochancellor is the latest in a string of honors for the astronaut,a Canadian national hero. Horticulturists named a flower –the Rosa ‘Roberta Bondar’ – after the Tufts-trainedresearcher, she was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall ofFame, and the community of Durham Region, Ontario named a schoolin her honor.

“Sheis an excellent role model for our young people – that isthe main reason we chose Dr. Roberta Bondar for our school name,”Tom Collins, principal of the Roberta Bondar School, told TheToronto Star. “She has tremendous work ethic.”

A neurologistby training, Bondar was one of the six original astronauts selectedfrom thousands of applicants for the 1992 Discovery voyage. Herrole on the mission was to study how the human body reacted toweightlessness and the growth of plants without gravity, applyingand expanding upon the skills she acquired at Tufts. Trained inthe field of neuro-ophthalmology at Tufts’ teaching hospital,Bondar studied how humans see and record the world around them.

“AlthoughI cared deeply about the environment before I flew in space, Ibecame passionate about it during my flight,” Bondar saidin a statement on her website.“My sense of responsibility reaches beyond my lifetime tothe future generations of the planet.”

With her new role aschancellor, Bondar will most certainly be able to continue tostrive for such goals.

“To have a scholarof Dr. Bondar’s reputation affiliated with Trent is a privilege,”said Reid Morden, Chair of the Board of Governors at Trent, ina statement from the university. “Her role as an accomplishedphotographic artist, academic, and internationally recognizedscientist will prove invaluable to our students, faculty and staff.”

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