Portland, OR. The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) transformed its annual Gala into a virtual evening called Celebrating Science. With the help of KGW-TV, the May 2nd virtual benefit met its original fundraising goal of more than $1 million dollars in contributions.

Over Zoom (pictured above) OMSI thanked sponsors in the top row, Presenting Sponsors Kimberly Cooper and Jon Jaqua of the Jon V. Jaqua and Kimberly B. Cooper Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation, Christine and David Vernier of Vernier Software & Technology. In the second row: Gina and Max Williams, Emily Karr, and Sally Bany. And in the third row: Chris and Jill Hall, Kristin Luck and Su Embree, and Janeese Jackson and Ross Lienhart. Fourth Row: Penny and Peter Serrurier, and Tom Liu and Holly Coit.

On camera, OMSI COO and Incoming President Erin Graham, Gala Chair Jordan Schnitzer, and OMSI President and CEO Nancy Stueber announce a demonstration to celebrate science with a bang.

OMSI Educator Meng Vue demonstrates a hydrogen balloon explosion during Celebrating Science.

During the Celebrating Science program, kids tour the water play area in the newly refreshed Science Playground at OMSI.

Jean Paul, Gregory Chaillé, and Adrienne Chaillé Celebrating Science with OMSI from home.

Innovating in response to the pandemic shutdown, OMSI partnered with KGW, Meyer Pro, and Sisbro Studios to broadcast and stream the Celebrating Science program, sharing entertaining science and inspiring curiosity with 500 Gala guests and the broader Oregon community.

Gala guests enjoyed Oregon snacks and fine wine from packages picked up at OMSI before the event and hosted Zoom tables to share the evening. Meanwhile, new community members joined existing donors as Sustaining Supporters of OMSI, with their contributions matched $200,000 by long-time OMSI partners. In Celebrating Science, OMSI’s talented educators ignited exciting explosions, led viewers on a “sneak peek” tour of two newly-constructed areas at OMSI—Science Playground and the Teen Tech Center—introduced insects and reptiles from the Life Sciences Hall, and presented an inspiring segment documenting the profound impact of OMSI statewide outreach programs, featuring a visit to rural Crane, Oregon. Viewers could call-in to become sustaining members and to purchase never-before offered OMSI experiences, such as a virtual program for a household with an OMSI educator.

OMSI leaders—including Nancy Stueber, who retires at the end of this month after 20 years as President and CEO, and current COO and Incoming President Erin Graham—along with Gala Chair and community leader Jordan Schnitzer, also made special appearances. OMSI has benefited from Stueber’s science background, focus on students and visitor experiences, knowledge of effective STEAM programs that inspire young learners, world-class exhibits, robust partnerships, community engagement, successful fundraising, team development and exemplary leadership throughout her tenure, and looks forward to building on these successes through the presidency of Graham.

OMSI celebrates the notion that everyone can be successful science learners. Funds raised through the Gala are used for OMSI’s multitude of programs, including current work in digital programming and emergency relief childcare for families of frontline workers. “We rely on the support of everyone in our region to help us continue to provide our unique services. Your support of any amount will help to make sure OMSI will always be here to welcome you and your family,” said Stueber.

David and Christine Vernier, co-founders of Vernier Software & Technology and long-time contributors to OMSI, discussed their ongoing support as Presenting Sponsors of the OMSI Gala 2020: Celebrating Science in this way: “Now more than ever, Oregon needs a scientifically literate community, and OMSI provides experiences that help people understand how science affects all of our lives. Through STEM education … we all become part of the solution to the most pressing issues of the 21st century.”

At the conclusion of the program, Graham gratefully expressed, “Thanks to the support of everyone watching, OMSI can continue to improve and deliver on our mission. We have always been a place by and for our community, and you all came together and proved that once again.”

Anyone can get involved and assist OMSI in its ongoing efforts to extend science-learning across Oregon and throughout the Pacific Northwest. Visit omsi.edu/donate or send an email to [email protected] for more information. To watch Celebrating Science again or share it with a friend, visit https://www.facebook.com/95214830735/videos/219530146015165/.

About OMSI: Our Mission
The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) inspires curiosity through engaging science learning experiences, fosters experimentation and the exchange of ideas, and stimulates informed action.
OMSI is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and relies on admissions, memberships, and donations to continue our educational mission, programs, and exhibits.
More information at omsi.edu.