May 29, 2014
LAWT News Service
On Friday, May 16, more than 750 guests attended the California Science Center’s 16th annual Discovery Ball. As part of the festivities, guests experienced an ancient city at the height of the Roman Empire as they previewed the west coast premiere of Pompeii: The Exhibition. From the Science Center they were transported by “chariot” to the entrance of Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which was transformed into a lush, Pompeii garden villa where they were treated to an Italian dinner by candlelight. While dining, guests were entertained by a harpist and pan flautist, followed by a small army of gladiators who made a grand entrance and lit the historic Olympic torch.
The annual black-tie gala, a philanthropic event, raised more than $1.35 million to benefit the California Science Center Foundation through table sponsorships, a live auction conducted by NBC4 Fritz Coleman, and a raffle for a Lexus RC F performance coupe. Science Center President, Jeffrey Rudolph noted that, “Proceeds from this fundraiser enable us to continue providing exceptional science learning and education opportunities for our community.”
The Science Center’s annual gala has been recognized as a “virtual who’s who of the Los Angeles business community” by the Los Angeles Business Journal. Among the gala guests were community and business leaders as well as elected officials at local, state and federal levels including: State Controller John Chiang; Congresswoman Maxine Waters; City Council President Herb Wesson; Councilman Curren Price; County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas; Assemblyman Reggie Jones Sawyer; Assemblyman Richard Bloom; and Assemblyman Steve Bradford; former astronaut Daniel Olivas; and celebrities Debbie Allen and her husband, former NBA star Norm Nixon.
Gala co-chairs Anne Shen Smith, past Chairman and CEO of Southern California Gas Company and Robert S. Carter, Senior Vice President – Automotive Operations of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc. presided over the program.
Another highlight of the evening was the transformation of the Samuel Oschin Pavilion into an out-of-this-world night club with Space Shuttle Endeavour as the centerpiece. Guests also enjoyed a private screening of the IMAX film “Forces of Nature.”
Top donors to the Discovery Ball were Wells Fargo and Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc.