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Photography by Ann Chatillon

Over 350 Orange County business and community leaders gathered Saturday, September 29th for the liveliest philanthropic event of the year: Discovery Science Center’s annual gala. The event theme:  UNDER CONSTRUCTION: Building for the Future, raised almost $600,000 for science education and marked the public launch of a bold $62 million capital campaign for the planned expansion of the Santa Ana campus. The effort is the largest in DSC history.

Excited guests arrived dressed in “construction chic” attire and enjoyed whimsical tray-passed hors d’oeuvres served on construction tools such as levels and planks as they mingled through the hands-on exhibits and silent auction items.  The atmosphere was a blend of science, fun, and a celebration of the Center’s Phase One expansion which is set to break ground in January 2013 and open in Spring 2014.

Gala committee co-chairs, Janet and Walkie Ray, kicked-off the dinner program in themed attire – Janet’s Discovery cube inspired fascinator and construction tape boa were the perfect accents for her black tie gown while Walkie donned a dinner jacket custom-made out of blueprints.  The theme continued into the tent pavilion décor which included yellow and black customized “DSC – Building For The Future” tape around each guest’s chair and Tonka truck inspired centerpieces which were later donated to children at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC).  Blueberry Hill catering delighted guests who finished out the evening’s theme with chocolate wheelbarrow desserts filled with mousse and edible chocolate rocks as guests danced into the evening with entertainment provided by musical group Stonebridge.

Discovery Science Center President Joe Adams, joined by Rick Baily of Boeing and Jillyn Verdon of Hess-Verdon & Associates,  took the stage to present the prestigious Arnold O. Beckman corporate and individual awards – named in honor of the world-renowned scientist, inventor, educator, philanthropist and business and civic leader, who was one of Discovery Science Center’s founding donors. Bolar Hirsch & Jennings received the corporate award for their outstanding leadership and the Horowitz Family received the individual award for the family’s contributions to the Center.

Bolar Hirsch & Jennings has had a significant impact on the Science Center since 1998.  Dan Bolar, founding partner, is currently serving his seventh year as Chairman of the Board of Directors at Discovery Science Center and accepted the award on behalf of Bolar Hirsch & Jennings. The Horowitz Family has been passionate supporters and advocates of Discovery Science Center.  David Horowitz, co-chair of the Center’s capital campaign, accepted the award on behalf of the family which includes daughter Emily who started at the Center as the President’s assistant and currently serves on the Center’s board of directors.

Capital campaign co-chairs, David Horowitz and Jim Peterson, President and CEO of Microsemi Corporation, wowed the guests with an exciting update on Discovery Science Center’s planned expansion followed by a special guest appearance from Indiana Jones to kick-off the live auction and to promote the Center’s upcoming exhibition:  Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology which opens October 12, 2012.

Discovery Science Center is Orange County’s leading destination for hands-on science fun with over 120 interactive science exhibits. The Center is ranked first in the nation in attendance per square foot and third in science outreach programs.  Over 526,000 visitors come to the Center annually and DSC serves more than 220,000 students in its educational outreach programs.  Upcoming exhibitions and events:  Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaelogy, The Exhibition –  October 12, 2012 – April 21, 2013; Pumpkin Launch – November 10, 2012; The Science of Gingerbread – November 23, 2012 to January 6, 2013.