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ALLENTOWN, PA.— The Board of Trustees of the Da Vinci Science Center is pleased to announce that Dr. J. Robert “Bob” Lovett, founding chair of the organization and emeritus trustee, is its first recipient of the Visionary Leadership Award. The award recognizes Dr. Lovett’s bold vision and incredible generosity, both which continue to influence the Da Vinci Science Center today. To further recognize the collective support of the family, the Board of Trustees unanimously voted to name Curiosity Hall in the new Da Vinci Science Center at PPL Pavilion for the Lovett family.
In 1999, Lovett led a group of influential community members who helped the science center become an independent nonprofit organization then known as the SMART Discovery Center of Science and Technology in Bethlehem, Pa. He went on to serve as its board chairman from 1999-2001. His involvement continued, and in 2003 Dr. Lovett was part of the team who decided to build a new science center on the Cedar Crest College campus, with the goal of increase the organization’s ability to offer hands-on science experiences for children, families and schools throughout the region. Dr. Lovett also was instrumental in the 2004 merger between the SMART Discovery Center and Leonardo da Vinci’s Horse, Inc. (LDVHI) to form the current incarnation of the Da Vinci Science Center. As emeritus trustee, he tirelessly continues to work to expand science learning opportunities for young people, especially for youth from low-income neighborhoods in Allentown.
The science center’s Executive Director and CEO, Lin Erickson, attributes much of the science center’s advancement to Dr. Lovett. “Without Bob, the Da Vinci Science Center would not exist as we know it today. Bob has played an instrumental role in the science center’s success at every stage of its development.”
A retired Air Products executive, Dr. Lovett’s career path, which traversed the worlds of scientific research and business, and his great appreciation of the arts ,are emblematic of Leonardo Da Vinci’s desire to dissolve the boundaries between science and the arts. His extensive community leadership spans across an array of organizations including the Baum School of Art; Communities in Schools; Community Bike Works; the Lehigh Valley Early Learning Coalition; the Community Action Development Corporation (CADC) of Allentown; Building 21, Allentown School District’s innovative high school; Cedar Crest College; Ursinus College, and the Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone Development Authority.
Today Dr. Lovett, his wife Sandy, and the Lovett family are still passionate about bringing science to life and lives to science. Their doing so helps ensure that all children in the community realize their full potential.
To honor the time, talent and treasure generously bestowed on Da Vinci Science Center by the family for more than two decades and counting, the science center’s Board of Trustees unanimously voted to name Curiosity Hall in the new Da Vinci Science Center at PPL Pavilion for the Lovett family.
“Bob’s leadership, generosity, and service to the science center over the years is extraordinary. His vision and the tireless support of his family have left an indelible legacy for our children, grandchildren and families. A legacy that will be fittingly connected to a space designed to bring people together and celebrate Leonardo’s curiosity,” James McLean, Chairman of the Board at Da Vinci Science Center and Senior Vice President, Investments at Steel Valley Investment Group.
Curiosity Hall is a grand courtyard, which will serve as a central gathering space and feature a monumental human figure that soars 60 feet high and takes its inspiration from Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. Here visitors will begin their experience in the new science center and be captivated by Leonardo’s story and by the stories of the many Lehigh Valley creative thinkers who have followed in his footsteps.
“The new Da Vinci Science Center at PPL Pavilion will celebrate Leonardo’s creative genius through hands-on experiences that inspire curiosity and the desire to learn. Bob Lovett and the Lovett family will forever be a part of that inspiration,” said Erickson.