The event will honor the lead supporters of a new 25th Anniversary $25 Million Campaign that the Center announced today.
Former New Jersey State Governor and Founding Governor of LSC Thomas H. Kean will chair the campaign.
“Without Governor Kean’s vision and perseverance, LSC would not exist,” said Paul Hoffman, President and CEO of Liberty Science Center.
“We want to make Liberty Science Center the best interactive science museum in the world,” said Hoffman. “Our exhibition halls must be fully immersive and reflect the latest science and technology. With a quarter million more people coming to LSC annually, there is also more wear and tear on the interactive exhibits, and we want to make sure that every square foot of our 300,000 square-foot facility is humming.”
In announcing her $5 million pledge, Mrs. Johnson said, “I am pleased to support Liberty Science Center and its mission to inspire the scientists of tomorrow.”
This donation will help further the Center’s goal of bringing the power, promise, and pure fun of science and technology to people of all ages through a renewal of its hands-on exhibitions.
Mr. Weston’s $2 million gift will establish the Weston Family Lab for Earth and Space Exploration, an exhibition and state-of-the-art laboratory classroom featuring Science on a Sphere, the brainchild of researchers at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The Sphere is a six-foot suspended electronic globe that enables students and adults to track in real-time hurricanes, tropical storms, tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanoes on Earth, as well as “atmospheric” events on other planets and moons.
“Our country needs more scientists and technologists, and needs a public that is scientifically literate,” said Mr. Weston, the Co-Chair of LSC’s Board of Trustees.
“The Center inspires the next generation of scientists and engineers and is essential to the future of New Jersey and society at-large,” said Mr. Weston. “So I’m pleased to help Liberty Science Center become the world’s premier interactive science museum.”
Mr. and Mrs. Williams pledged $2.5 million. Mr. Williams has been a supporter of Liberty Science Center from the very beginning, working hand-in-hand with Governor Kean to secure the funding necessary for its very creation in 1993.
Their gift will allow the Center to build Sapiens 2.0: Will 100 Be the New 60?, an exhibition featuring the exciting new science of human life extension. The highly interactive experience will make this incredible research immediate and relevant to visitors by putting the tools and techniques of the biotech industry into their hands.
For example, visitors will be able to 3d print their own tissue scaffold and print living cells, simulate the work of a drug developer in a high-speed digital game constructing ultra-precise molecular delivery systems, and control prosthetic limbs with their minds using specialized headsets.
“As a supporter from day one, I’ve been incredibly proud of the great work Liberty Science Center has done in its first twenty five years,” said Mr. Williams. “I’m honored to support their next quarter century and inspire the world’s next generation of biotechnologists and pharmacologists.”
Ms. Chalsty has committed an additional $1 million to her generous $5M gift announced by the Center last year. Her gift is enabling the Center to transform its iconic dome theater into the Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium and LSC Giant Dome Theater.
Scheduled to open to the public during the 2017 holiday season, the Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium will host the official VIP reception and 25th Anniversary $25 Million Campaign celebration on January 25, 2018.
“As a former teacher, I know that education is life’s great equalizer,” said Ms. Chalsty. “I also know that if we hope to fill the tremendous need for more top quality STEM professionals, we have to start inspiring children and imbuing in them a lifelong love for these subjects. That is the mission of the Liberty Science Center and why I’m proud to support this great institution.”
In the past four years, LSC’s annual attendance has grown by 53%, or 224,000, to more than 650,000 visitors, including 91,000 “at-risk” children from the lowest-income neighborhoods in New Jersey. LSC’s attendance spike has made it the fastest growing established museum in the United States. The 25th anniversary campaign will help the Center reimagine its interactive exhibitions and elevate its important science and technology education programs.
The Center provides programs to over 250,000 students annually, and is on the frontline of getting K-12 students excited about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and into the pipeline toward STEM careers.
LSC pioneered the award-winning Live From Surgery program, in which 9,500 students annually watch in real-time (through two-way videoconferencing) kidney transplants, cardiac surgery, robotic surgery, heart transplants, and knee replacements while conversing the whole time with the surgical teams.
The Center delivers programs for learners of all ages, from robotics classes for five-year-olds to regular “LSC After Dark” events for a largely millennial audience.
“I am honored to be at the helm of the 25th anniversary campaign,” said Governor Kean. “Liberty Science Center is providing the State of New Jersey with critical learning opportunities for our students. I am thankful for the support of our generous donors who recognize how important an institution LSC is and what a strong future it has.”