Retired astronaut to discuss life in space at free lecture

Dr. Bonnie Dunbar

Retired NASA astronaut Dr. Bonnie Dunbar will speak about her life and experiences as a five-time Space Shuttle astronaut in “A Life in Space” at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 13 at the Leo J. Welder Center for the Performing Arts. The lecture is free and open to the public.

“It’s an honor to have someone as prestigious as Dr. Dunbar visit Victoria for the museum’s spring lecture series,” said Sue Prudhomme, Victoria College director of cultural affairs. “She’s devoted her life to working on space technology and expanding America’s space frontiers. She is a proponent of education and discovery and has already made her mark in history.”

Dunbar is the M. D. Anderson Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Houston, serving as the director of the “UH STEM Center” (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and director of the Aerospace Engineering Graduate Program.

In her early career, Dunbar worked as an engineer for Rockwell International Space Division, building Space Shuttle Columbia. She also was a NASA astronaut, flying five Space Shuttle flights and logging more than 50 days in space.  As a member of the Government’s Senior Executive Service, her service included Assistant NASA JSC Director for University Research and NASA Headquarters Deputy Associate Administrator for the Office of Life and Microgravity Sciences and Applications (OLMSA).

Following her NASA career, she was president/CEO of The Seattle Museum of Flight.

Dunbar holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in ceramic engineering from the University of Washington and a PhD in mechanical/biomedical engineering from the University of Houston.

She is a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the Royal Aeronautical Society. She has been awarded the NASA Space Flight Medal, the NASA Exceptional Leadership Medal and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal; was inducted into the Royal Society of Edinburgh; and was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. In 2013, she was selected into the Astronaut Hall of Fame.

“A Life in Space” is part of the Museum of the Coastal Bend’s spring lecture series, complementing the special exhibit “Above Texas Skies: Space Exploration in the Coastal Bend.” The presentation is sponsored in part by a grant from the Junior League of Victoria.

Dunbar will be available to sign autographs at a reception in the Welder Center lobby immediately following the lecture. Additionally, the NASA moon rock currently on display at the museum will be exhibited at the reception. The rock was collected by astronaut James Irwin during the Apollo 15 mission in 1971.

The Welder Center is located at 214 N. Main St. in historic downtown Victoria.

For more information, contact Sue Prudhomme at (361) 582-2436 or email

Published: Thursday, 07 May 2015

Pirate Portal


© 2017 Victoria College | 2200 E. Red River | Victoria, TX 77901 | (361) 573-3291 | (877) 843-4369