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People & Culture

Roberta Bondar on her new role as Honorary Vice-President of the RCGS

The astronaut, neurologist and landscape photographer now has another title to add to her impressive resume

  • May 02, 2017
  • 280 words
  • 2 minutes
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“Exploration is not something you retire from. It is a part of one’s life ethic.”

Twenty-five years ago Dr. Roberta Bondar circled the globe 129 times over eight days aboard Space Shuttle Discovery, and in the process, became not only the world’s first neurologist in space, but the second Canadian and first Canadian woman in space. Since returning to Earth she’s continued to dazzle and reveal the world through her renowned landscape photography. 

Gavin Fitch, President of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, announced at an event held April 18 that Bondar had been appointed the newest Honorary Vice-President of the Society, a special honour reserved for remarkable individuals who have contributed to geography and to Canada.

“It’s an honour to have people’s faith that I’m still able to be inspirational about geography and about discovery,” says Bondar. “To be recognized is very nice, and it’s nice that we have Canadians who want to support The Royal Canadian Geographical Society. The Society examines our land and our connection to the land. It tries to make sense of things like climate change and the evolving challenges we face as a planet.”

Other people who have held the title of Honorary Vice-President are: Arthur Philemon Coleman, a geologist and explorer who between 1884 and 1908 made eight trips of discovery to the Canadian Rockies; Gen. A.G.L. McNaughton, President of the National Research Council and Canada’s first Ambassador to the United Nations; and Dr. John Tuzo Wilson, a geophysicist and geologist who achieved worldwide acclaim for his contributions to the theory of plate tectonics. Bondar joins an illustrious list of current Honorary Vice-Presidents that includes Pierre Camu, Arthur E. Collin, Alex Davidson, Wade Davis, Gisèle Jacob, Louie Kamookak and Denis A. St. Onge.

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