2023 Founders' Day Celebration

Canterbury School invites you to our inaugural Founders’ Day celebration at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, October 20, 2023. Festivities include special recognition of our 2023 Distinguished Alumni Award honoree and keynote speaker, Dr. Noël Bakhtian ’01.
Noël Bakhtian (pronunciation) joined the Canterbury family in fourth grade and was a proud graduate of the Class of 2001. After completing a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and physics from Duke University, she was awarded a Churchill Scholarship to attend the MPhil (masters) program at the University of Cambridge in England. Following her dream of being an astronaut, she then enrolled in post-grad programs at Stanford University and achieved an M.S. and Ph.D. in Aeronautics & Astronautics based on her work at NASA Ames Research Center she worked at NASA Ames Research Center (NASA-ARC) on a new deceleration technology concept to land human missions on Mars. A year in Washington, D.C. to explore science policy turned into five as she discovered the threat of climate change and took on advisory roles in Congress, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy. She then spent more than five years serving as director for several DOE research & development centers across the country. She is currently the Director of Tech Acceleration at the Bezos Earth Fund, the $10 billion philanthropic commitment to fight climate change and protect and restore nature in this decade while advancing environmental justice and economic opportunity. Additionally, she serves as a Board Member for QSIDE– the Institute for the Quantitative Study of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity – which leverages quantitative methods to reveal and analyze big data in support of grassroots organizations to catalyze systemic change, was appointed to the NASA Advisory Council (NAC) Science Committee by the NASA Administrator, and serves as a member of the National Academies Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy.

Following the assembly, Canterbury will host a special campus tour for alumni, trustees, past trustees, and friends, along with a luncheon honoring Dr. Noël Bakhtian ’01. A full schedule of Founders’ Day activities can be found below. 

Friday, October 20, 2023
9:00 a.m.
Founders’ Day Assembly
Murphy Sports Center - Canterbury School 
10:00 a.m.
Founders’ Day School Tour & Student Panel
Lower School Entrance - Canterbury School
11:00 a.m. 
Distinguished Alumni Award Luncheon
Ellenberg Library - Canterbury School