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

Bondar, a physician, scientist and photographer, was a payload specialist on the 1992 Discovery space mission. Her duties included 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 her book, "Touching the Earth," in which she communicates both the beauty and science in nature. Her photographic exhibition, "Passionate Vision: Discovering Canada's National Parks," included photos of all of Canada's national parks from both the earth and space. In addition to being the Canadian Museum of Nature's showcase exhibition last year, the photos were published in scientific journals and reside in NASA's permanent photograph collections.

Bondar was named Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in neurology at The University of Western Ontario. She 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 of science in zoology and agriculture from the University of Guelph.

The recipient of numerous honorary degrees, Bondar is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, and received The Order of Ontario and The Order of Canada, recognition of contributions to the life and history of Canada. Following her space mission, she was also awarded the NASA Space Medal by the United States of America, which recognizes her contributions as an astronaut to the American space program.

This article was posted on: December 14, 2001

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