James E. Hesser, Wichita native, graduated from KU in 1963 with a bachelor's degree in astronomy. He received his master's and doctoral degrees in astrophysics from Princeton University. He has authored or coauthored more than 250 scientific publications and been a pioneer in using the Hubble Space Telescope to establish the ages of the outermost star clusters related with the Milky Way galaxy. Hesser spent nine years as a staff member at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, which serves as the U.S. National Science Foundation's primary facility for astronomical research in the southern hemisphere. In 1977, Hesser joined the staff of the dominion Astronomical Observatory in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada's national observatory for optical astronomy. He became director in 1986.