First Canadian woman astronaut to speak at Dec. 16 commencement

Roberta Bondar, the first Canadian woman astronaut and the world's first neurologist in space, will deliver the address at commencement Sunday, Dec. 16. The program for more than 2,000 graduates will begin at 1:30 p.m. at Scope.

A physician, scientist and photographer, Bondar was a payload specialist on the 1992 Discovery space mission. Her duties included conducting a study on the effects of weightlessness on the human body and photographing the Earth. She also assisted in the preparation and recording of the IMAX movie "Destiny in Space."

After returning from space, Bondar discovered a new respect and passion for the Earth. She published a book, "Touching the Earth," in which she communicates both the beauty and science in nature. She also compiled a photographic exhibition, "Passionate Vision: Discovering Canada's National Parks," which includes photos of all of Canada's national parks from both land and space.

In addition to comprising the Canadian Museum of Nature's showcase exhibition last year, the photos were published in scientific journals and reside in NASA's permanent photographic collections.

Following her space mission, Bondar was awarded the NASA Space Medal.

Bondar received an M.D. from McMaster University, a Ph.D. in neurobiology from the University of Toronto, a master's degree in experimental pathology from the University of Western Ontario and a bachelor's in zoology and agriculture from the University of Guelph.

She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and of the Royal College of Physicians in neurology at the University of Western Ontario. Bondar was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, and received The Order of Ontario and The Order of Canada in recognition of contributions to the life and history of Canada.