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NASA astronaut added to Bader International Study Centre celebration

[Drew Feustel on the International Space Station]
NASA astronaut Drew Feustel (PhD’95, DSc’16) will be the keynote speaker at the BISC’s 25th Anniversary Celebration.

The last time astronaut Drew Feustel talked to the Queen’s community, he was floating 408 kilometres above Earth on the International Space Station.

Dr. Feustel (PhD'95, DSc'16), who returned to Earth in October after a six-month mission, has been named the keynote speaker at the Bader International Study Centre’s (BISC) 25th Anniversary Celebration from June 29-30. During his mission, Dr. Feustel participated in a live question-and-answer session with the Queen’s and Kingston communities by video – a first for the university.

BISC Vice-Provost and Executive Director Hugh Horton is thrilled to add an astronaut to the weekend’s lineup of activities because it ties into the Castle’s astronomical history. Before Herstmonceux Castle was donated by Alfred Bader (Sc’45, Arts’46, MSc’47, LLD’86) and Isabel Bader (LLD’07) to Queen’s in the early 1990s, it was home to the Royal Greenwich Observatory from 1957 to 1988. The observatory is still on the grounds, and the BISC also offers an introductory astronomy course.

“Drew helped repair the Hubble Telescope during his space shuttle mission,” says Dr. Horton. “He is an alumnus who has had a profound impact on science. For years, students and researchers at the Castle have studied astronomy. Now we will learn from someone who has the first-hand experience of life in space.”

Additional activities planned for the BISC 25th anniversary weekend include Castle tours, Queen’s tea in the Elizabethan gardens, chances to mingle with BISC professors, falconry, archery, and the dedication of a new tricolour-themed garden in memory of Alfred Bader. On June 30, the Castle will open up to the community for Canada Day celebrations. Organizers are hoping Canadians living in England will join alumni for street hockey, tastes from home such as poutine and Nanaimo bars, and a concert by the BISC Musicians in Residence featuring works by Dan School of Drama and Music Professor John Burge.

Many alumni will be reminiscing about the past 25 years at Herstmonceux Castle, but Dr. Horton also wants people to think about the next 25 years.

“The celebration is as much about looking forward as it is about looking back,” he says. “Twenty-five years ago we essentially took an abandoned castle and turned it into a modern university campus with small class sizes and cutting-edge learning tools designed to create an exceptional learning environment. Now we want to share our plans with alumni on how the BISC student experience is going to evolve and improve in the future.”

One change is a new teaching science lab and innovation design space. It will be unveiled by Queen Elizabeth II’s representative, the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, on June 29. The new lab is part of BISC’s plans to expand its course offerings to include more science-based programs.

Several senior Queen’s administrators will travel to England to take part in the celebrations, including Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf (Artsci’80), Chancellor Jim Leech (MBA’73), and Vice-Principal (Advancement) Karen Bertrand (Artsci’94).

For details about the event, or to register, visit the Queen’s alumni website.

This article was first published on the Queen's Alumni website.

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