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Trent University Establishes Roberta Bondar Fellowship in Northern and Polar Studies


New Fellowship to Foster Interest in Northern Studies at Trent

Friday, April 27, 2007, Peterborough

As part of Trent University’s leading role in Canadian studies, president and vice chancellor Bonnie M. Patterson announced today the establishment of a new endowed fellowship entitled The Roberta Bondar Fellowship in Northern and Polar Studies (RBFNS).

“With the burgeoning importance of northern issues such as environmental change, focus on the Northwest Passage and future resource development, we are pleased to create a sustainable mechanism that will attract the best northern scholars to Trent for the benefit of our students,” said President Patterson. “Dr. Bondar’s excellent work through artistic and scientific means drawing attention to the transformations underway in the Canadian north, make this a natural way to recognize her enduring support of Trent.”

To establish the RBFNS, the President agreed to convert funds which currently support The Northern Chair Lecture Series into an endowment which will create an endowed fellowship at Trent University to support Northern Studies. The endowment will generate approximately $45,000 per year. The terms of the fellowship itself were reviewed and approved at the April 11, 2007 meeting of Senate.

Dr. Bondar was moved by today’s announcement. “As the fringes of the vast Arctic slipped beyond the window of the space shuttle Discovery, I realized that as Canadians, we know so little of the unique space of our Northern ocean and lands. This fellowship is a sound Trent initiative to open our eyes, hearts and minds to the diversity of our country and the planet.”

The RBFNS will be a post-doctoral teaching and research award. The fellowship will be supported entirely from funds generated by the endowment. It will be designed to attract up-and-coming young northern scholars to Trent for the period of one academic year (8-12 months), in which they would participate in and bolster Northern Studies at Trent University through teaching, scholarship, and public lecturing.

Dr. Roberta Bondar is the world’s first neurologist in space and Canada’s first woman astronaut. Dr. Bondar is an accomplished photographer, and is a passionate advocate of issues relating to Northern and Polar Studies. In addition to photographing Earth from the space shuttle Discovery, Dr. Bondar photographed all of Canada’s national parks, resulting in the book, “Passionate Vision – Discovering Canada’s National Parks.”

Dr. Bondar has been awarded the Order of Canada, received the NASA Space Medal, is a Laureate of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame and has been awarded 24 honorary degrees from universities across North America. Dr. Roberta Bondar was installed as Chancellor of Trent University in 2003, and is in her second term.


For further information, please contact:

Marilyn Burns, director of communications, (705) 748-1303