BRANDON – Decorated astronaut, engineer and pilot Col. Chris Hadfield will launch Brandon University’s 50th anniversary Homecoming celebrations with a public keynote on Friday, Oct. 12.
“I am over the moon to welcome Col. Chris Hadfield to our Homecoming stage,” said Dr. Steven Robinson, Interim President of BU. “Every Canadian has been inspired by Col. Hadfield’s feats, and I look forward to hearing the academic, social and scientific insights he has gleaned from the rare perspective of Earth orbit.”
At the Friday evening keynote, Hadfield will speak on “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth,” showing the Brandon audience how to “think like an astronaut.” Sharing the useful and practical lessons he’s learned throughout his remarkable career in the fields of leadership, teamwork, collaboration, and science and technology, his vivid and refreshing insights motivate audiences to achieve dreams higher than the clouds, and will change, completely, the way attendees will view life on Earth.
“The exploration of space is a truly inspirational experience, and I look forward to bringing that inspiration to Brandon,” said Col. Hadfield. “Everyone can discover that there are always possibilities beyond the horizon that you see.”
Thanks to support from the BU Faculty of Science, Hadfield will also present a daytime talk on the importance of STEM education to selected middle-years students from Brandon and Westman-area schools.
“Space exploration is one of the many futuristic career options for students who pursue an education in science, technology, engineering or math — STEM,” said Dr. Bernadette Ardelli, Dean of Science at BU. “Inspiring students to find a STEM path early in their education can help them access these amazing opportunities.”
The pair of speeches will be part of BU’s expanded Homecoming and 50th anniversary party this fall, to which everyone is invited. The four-day community celebration also includes a Bobcat Basketball reunion and Wall of Fame induction, an awards dinner and gala for BU alumni, a free Family Day of activities on Saturday, and a Saturday evening street concert on 20th Street.
“This year’s Homecoming is bigger and better than before — and it’s not just for alumni,” said Carla Eisler, Director of Alumni and Advancement at BU. “We have four full days of events for students, alumni, faculty and staff, retirees, and all our neighbours and friends in the community.”
Hadfield soared to success as the first Canadian Commander of the International Space Station in 2013 and is the author of three internationally bestselling books.
Hadfield’s many awards include the Order of Canada, the Meritorious Service Cross, and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal. He was named the Top Test Pilot in both the US Air Force and the US Navy, and was inducted into Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame.
In 1992, Col. Hadfield was selected as a NASA Mission Specialist, and three years later he was aboard the Shuttle Atlantis, where he helped build the Mir space station. In 2001, on Shuttle Endeavour, Col. Hadfield performed two spacewalks and in 2013, he became Commander of the International Space Station for six months off planet.
There, he became a worldwide sensation with a video of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” — seen by over 75 million people — that was called “possibly the most poignant version of the song ever created”, by Bowie himself. Acclaimed for making outer space accessible to millions, and for infusing a sense of wonder into our collective consciousness not felt since humanity first walked on the Moon, Col. Hadfield continues to bring the marvels of science and space travel to everyone he encounters.
Currently, Col. Hadfield can be seen as the co-creator and host of the internationally acclaimed BBC series Astronauts: Do You Have What It Takes?, and he is co-hosting, with actor Will Smith, the National Geographic series One Strange Rock, directed by Darren Aronofsky.
Colonel Hadfield is also the producer of the celebrated Rare Earth series on YouTube, and the creator of the on-stage celebration Generator, which combines science, comedy, and music for sold-out audiences.
Additionally, Col. Hadfield is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Waterloo.
The public keynote will be held Friday, Oct. 12 at the Western Manitoba Centennial Auditorium, starting at 6:30 p.m. Tickets for the event are $35 and will be on sale through the WMCA by Monday at noon.
For more information about Col. Hadfield’s public keynote talk, to buy tickets, or to learn more about the many other Homecoming events planned for Oct. 11–14, visit BrandonU.ca/Homecoming.