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Scripps Florida Rolls Out 50th Anniversary Carpet with Concert and Cake
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Scripps Florida Rolls Out 50th Anniversary Carpet with Concert and Cake

By Eric Sauter

The Scripps Research Institute’s 50th anniversary celebration moved to the East Coast on November 13 with a classical music concert held in the Rodney B. Fink Education Pavilion on the Jupiter, Florida campus. The event—the first time music has ever been performed there—was attended by more than 150 people, including members of the Scripps Research Board of Trustees, Scripps Florida faculty members, and invited guests.

The concert, presented through the generosity of Jimmy and Becky Mayer, showcased members of the Germany-based Kronberg Academy, one of the leading education institutions for young string players. The five-person ensemble performed selections from Handel, Schubert, and Chopin.

A wine and cheese reception, sponsored by PNC Bank, was held prior to the concert.

Before the evening’s musical entertainment began, Richard A. Gephardt, chairman of the Scripps Research Board of Trustees, offered his perspective on the anniversary as well as the legacy of retiring president, Richard A. Lerner. Gephardt also introduced a brief film honoring Lerner’s accomplishments.

Calling biomedical research and technology, “the most important factor for economic growth and the better health of our people,” Gephardt pointed out that since Scripps Research first began, it has created more than 50 companies; in the last 10 years, it has also registered more than 700 patents.

Gephardt, a former United States House Majority Leader (1989 to 1995), suggested that in the face of the importance of research to the country, even politics can take a back seat. He also praised the role played by private philanthropy, not only in making the evening’s entertainment possible, but also in supporting the work of Scripps Research scientists all year round.

He ended his remarks on a sentiment no one attending the ceremony could argue with. “It is the gift of life in the end that is the real product of Scripps Research,” Gephardt said.

Lerner also spoke briefly, addressing what he called the uniqueness of Scripps Florida and noting that faculty, staff, trustees, and supporters should take pride in their role making the campus what it is today. In terms of his own discovery research, Lerner said, “My most important discovery turned out to be the institute’s people.”

On Monday afternoon, November 14, following the Board of Trustees meeting, a second, shorter celebration of Lerner’s contributions to Scripps Research involved a special cake, a large crowd of faculty and staff members, and a special commemorative plaque presented to Lerner by Harry Orf, vice president of scientific operations at Scripps Florida—all to the lilting sounds of live steel drum music, a tropical tribute to the man whose vision was responsible for getting Scripps Florida off the ground.

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Becky and Jimmy Mayer (left and center) sponsored the anniversary concert by the Kronberg Quintet—the first time music has been performed in the Rodney B. Fink Education Pavillion, made possible by a donation by Trustee Marjorie Fink (right).