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10-23-2009

Former Astronaut Bonnie Dunbar Highlight of Space Day at Clarkson University Thursday

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/dunbar.jpg.]

Clarkson University’s Coulter School of Engineering will present the second of two Clarkson Space Days this Thursday, October 29.

Bonnie J. Dunbar, former astronaut and now CEO and president of the Museum of Flight will speak with Clarkson students, faculty and staff, and, especially, the young people of the North Country.dunbar

"This will be another exciting day with a very special celebration of the contributions of space activities to humankind," says Distinguished University Professor Liya Regel, the event chair. "Students from all North Country schools are invited to join us for the day’s events."

The day will kick off at 9:30 a.m. in the Cheel Campus Center, as an historical overview of space research performed by Clarkson professors, students and alumni is presented. This will be preceded by light refreshments.

"We have found that many members of the Clarkson family have been and are involved in space research, space business, space exploration and developing future space programs," says Regel. "The Clarkson network in this field is impressive and fascinating. Students, faculty and the public will be most welcome."

At 1:30 p.m. a student team space-quiz competition for North Country high school students takes place in the Cheel Center.

At 3 p.m. in Science Center Room 360, Dunbar will present an inspiring speech to North Country youth, students, faculty and the public. Immediately following there will be an award ceremony for students from the earlier space-quiz competition.

Space Day wraps up in the Cheel Campus Center from 5 to 6 p.m. with an informal reception and discussion with Dunbar. All are welcome to attend.

Bonnie Dunbar is the president and CEO of the Museum of Flight in Seattle. She earned a B.S. and an M.S. in ceramic engineering at the University of Washington, and a Ph.D. in mechanical/biomedical engineering from the University of Houston. She is also a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

She held research and engineering positions with the Boeing Co., Harwell Laboratories in Oxford, England, and Rockwell International Space Division until 1978, when she joined NASA as a guidance and navigation flight controller. In 1980, she was selected as a NASA Mission Specialist Astronaut.

Dunbar is a veteran of five spaceflight missions, logging more than 50 days in orbit aboard the Shuttles Atlantis, Challenger, Columbia, and Endeavor, including two dockings with the Russian Space Station Mir.

Her NASA management assignments included Deputy Associate Administrator for Life and Microgravity Sciences and Applications at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.; Assistant Director for Mission Operations at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas; Deputy Director for Flight Crew Operations at JSC; and Assistant Director for University Research and Affairs at JSC.

Dunbar’s final NASA assignment was as Associate Director of Technology Integration and Risk Management at JSC’s Space and Life Science Directorate. She retired from NASA in 2005 to accept her current position.

Dunbar has received numerous awards from professional societies and universities, including 11 NASA medals, the Museum of Flight’s Pathfinder Award, and eight honorary doctorates. She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and a corresponding member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland. She was elected to the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame.

This year she will receive the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Ralph Coats Roe Medal "for serving as a role model while a NASA Astronaut on five shuttle flights, for leadership as a senior NASA Administrator, and for inspiring and educating the public about the nature and history of aerospace technology as President of The Museum of Flight."

For further information about Space Day, please contact Prof. Liya Regel at regel@clarkson.edu; 268 7672

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in six alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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