"Imagine what if and what will be?"
This was the question asked by organizers of the Discovery Science Center's annual fundraising dinner last week, which
welcomed some 400 community activists and raised more than $500,000 for science education in Orange County.
The massive event was chaired with style by Jeff and Andrea Reeves. The event honored major donors Microsemi Corporation, represented by Jim Peterson, and philanthropist Paul Folino and his corporation Emulex, for their unwavering support. They were honored with the Arnold O. Beckman Award from the center.
The evening also announced the center's capital expansion plans led by campaign chairs David Horowitz and Peterson. The ambitious expansion includes major renovation and addition to the center's Santa Ana campus.
On hand to welcome the crowd and to bestow the Beckman Award upon the dignitaries were Discovery Science Center President Joe Adams and Board Chairman Dan Bolar. Notable guests in the crowd also included Marta and Raj Bhathal, Walkie and Janet Ray, Lydia and Ken Himes, Rick and Mary Bailey, Dale and Sandi Dykema, and Kendra and John Doyle.
Supporting the Discovery Science Center over many years and charming the dinner crowd was Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Michael Ramirez. Peterson, the honoree, shared the spotlight with his wife Sheila and Folino, the fellow honoree, who was attending with Margo Judge and a large contingent of extended family and friends supporting the evening.
"I am always asked, why Discovery Science Center?" Folino said. "We have an obligation as a community to provide kids with opportunities to come to Discovery Science Center and get excited about science and math. That's the way we are going to find engineers and scientists for the future. We need to return American back to where we should be in the No. 1 world position leading in math and science."
Peterson chimed in.
"As corporate citizens we have got to get involved," he said. "We need to work together to fix some of the macroeconomic problems that we are facing in this county. Together we can channel our great strengths from one generation to the next."
As in years past, the upbeat crowd arrived at the center at sunset on a Saturday evening, and was welcomed into an atmosphere of science, imagination and fun. Caterer Turnip Rose passed hors d'oeuvres and cocktails as guests examined science exhibits and experienced interactive setups created to stir the imagination.
Party planners even designed a signature cocktail for the night, which they called appropriately an "IMAGINE-tini." Dinner was served in a beautiful tent pavilion.
The Turnip Rose catering staff presented guests with a perfect duo of beef filet and fresh sea bass as they table-hopped and shared dinner conversation with friends. As the evening progressed the Stonebridge Band led by Gerald Ishibashi had the crowd dancing late into the night.
"Inspiration is one of the key ingredients of an education," Horowitz said, summing up the evening. "That's what Discovery Science Center does best."
Supporting the inspiration mission in the crowd were Arzu and Jim Osborn, Lois and John Wareham, Carole and Del Stagg with their daughter Stephanie, and Mike Wheeler.
THE CROWD runs Thursdays and Saturdays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.