When Dr. Roberta Bondar blasted off aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1992, she became Canada’s first female astronaut and the world’s first neurologist in space.
Concordia President and Vice-Chancellor Judith Woodsworth and Loyola Alumni Association President James Donaldson presented the medal to Bondar for her achievements in space and her many other accomplishments as a scientist, educator, environmentalist and photographer.
“It’s an honour to bestow the prestigious Loyola Medal on Dr. Bondar, a pioneer in her field and outstanding Canadian,” Donaldson said. “Dr. Bondar represents the ideals and spirit of liberal arts and scientific education that characterized Loyola College.”
Bondar’s delivered a free public lecture, called “Suspended above a Turquoise Bubble,” following her receipt of the Loyola Medal. She described how her perception of the Earth — which looked to her like a large “turquoise bubble” — changed after she saw our planet from space.
Among Bondar’s many skills and interests include nature photography and a passion for environmental education. She is the author of four best-selling photo essay books: Touching the Earth, the story of her astronaut experiences; Passionate Vision: Discovering Canada’s National Parks; Canada: Landscape of Dreams; and The Arid Edge of Earth.
Bondar has been chancellor of Trent University in Peterborough, Ont., since 2003 and has earned many accolades throughout her career. UNESCO named her as the Honorary Patron for Canada for the International Years of the Planet, 2008-2010.