H/Giving to Da Vinci Science Center/Hall of Fame Awards Gala

Hall of Fame Awards Gala

The annual Hall of Fame Awards Gala is the Da Vinci Science Center’s flagship fundraising event. Proceeds support the Center’s exhibits and programs that bring science to life every day for children of all backgrounds and socioeconomic status and inspire them to explore careers in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

View 2019 Gala Coverage

The black-tie-optional gala features a cocktail reception, dinner, silent auction, live auction, special pledge appeal, and the annual presentation of the Da Vinci Science Center’s Hall of Fame Awards.

Hall of Fame Awards

The Da Vinci Science Center has bestowed its Hall of Fame Awards annually since 1999 to students who show a unique passion for science, educators who inspire enthusiasm for science with innovative approaches, professionals and companies who bring science to life every day, and partners who support the Center’s mission.

Student Excellence Awards

The Science Center recognizes four exceptional high school students, who have demonstrated a passion for the sciences both in-and-out of the classroom. Each student receives a $2,000 scholarship.

The nomination period for 2019 Student and Educator Excellence Awards has ended.

Educator Awards

Educators can be nominated for three honors: the Teacher Excellence Award, the STEM Leadership Award, and the New Educator Excellence Award. These awards honor educators in grades K-12 who inspire enthusiasm for science with innovative approaches.

Spirit of Verrocchio Mentorship Award

Jack Pfunder, president and CEO of Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC), and MRC

This award recognizes community leaders for their passionate mentorship of the Da Vinci Science Center and its mission.  The award is named after a 15th century mentor to a young Leonardo da Vinci.

Read More about Jack Pfunder and MRC

In 2011, Jack Pfunder approached Da Vinci Science Center to discuss the state of manufacturing and careers in the Lehigh Valley. He knew that Da Vinci Science Center was a resource the MRC could use to get the word out to students, educators and parents that there were many exciting careers to be pursued in the area of manufacturing. The “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing” student video contest (part of Dream it Do It) was created out of the efforts of the Skill Up grant with the original four partners: MRC, Da Vinci Science Center, Lehigh Career Technical Institute, and the Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board. In 2013-2014, with strong support from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, MRC, the Da Vinci Science Center, and the Lehigh Career Technical Institute developed a variety of new programs exposing students and their parents to manufacturing careers. The knowledge about careers in manufacturing and the relationships that were built through this partnership changed the game at Da Vinci Science Center and the benefits are being experienced even today! Jack and MRC have mentored the Center in workforce development and career development and have been a connector to our friends in manufacturing.

The Grand Maestro Corporate Award

B Braun

The Grand Maestro Corporate Award honors a Da Vinci Science Center partner in recognition of its substantial contributions to the scientific community and the Center.

Read More about B Braun

In 2011, the Da Vinci Science Center was looking for manufacturers to support the How People Make Things exhibit.  B Braun agreed to sponsor the exhibit and the rest is history! B Braun has been a loyal and generous supporter of the Da Vinci Science Center for the past seven years.  In the company’s quest to promote career opportunities in manufacturing, B. Braun has supported the Center’s Career Exploration Days and Women In Science and Engineering (WISE) Network events with funding and personnel. B. Braun has also supported exhibits such as the Year of the Body (Bodies Revealed), Year of Innovation, and the new Leo’s Creativity Studio maker space.

B. Braun Medical Inc. is comprised of four divisions: Hospital Care, Outpatient Markets, Renal Therapies, and Original Equipment Manufacturing. It is a full line supplier of IV therapy products, including IV solutions, drug delivery systems, vascular access devices (standard and needle-free IV systems, and IV safety catheters), and infusion pumps. The company also manufactures, markets, distributes, and supports a comprehensive medical product line that includes advanced products for pharmacy, clinical nutrition, anesthesia/pain control, hemodialysis and renal replacement therapy. For more than 175 years, the B. Braun organization has believed that the sharing of experiences, ideas, insights and expertise is essential in moving our lives, our health and our world forward. It is a leader in infusion therapy and pain management, and one of the largest medical device companies in the world. The company’s headquarters is in Bethlehem, Pa., with primary manufacturing facilities located in: Allentown, Pa.; Irvine, Calif.; Carrollton, Texas; and the Dominican Republic.

Leonardo’s Legacy Award

The Dent Family

This new award for 2019 is given to individuals, companies, or organizations that have played a significant role in integrating the mission of Leonardo da Vinci’s horse with the Da Vinci Science Center.

Read More about The Dent Family

Charles C. Dent and the entire Dent family have played a very important role in the history of Da Vinci Science Center.  Charles’ dream was to build the horse that Leonardo da Vinci never was able to finish. He incorporated Leonardo da Vinci’s Horse, Inc. (LDVHI) in 1982 as a nonprofit organization, and led the charge to have the horse built from 1982-1994.  Unfortunately, Charles passed away on Dec. 25, 1994, shortly after being diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Just like Leonardo, he had worked for 17 years without finishing the horse.  Charles’ nephew, Peter Dent took on the reigns of the nonprofit. With the help of countless donors and the talents of sculptor Nina Akamu and the Talix Art Foundry in Beacon, N.Y., the horse was shared with the world at a grand unveiling in Milan on Sept. 10, 1999, 500 years to the reported day that Leonardo’s clay model of the horse had been destroyed by French troops.

The horse is the symbol of what Leonardo da Vinci exemplified.  His inspiration, courage, determination, curiosity, creativity, and imagination are all principals that made it so easy for the Discovery Center of Science and Technology and Leonardo Da Vinci’s Horse to merge to become Da Vinci Science Center in 2003.

Through the years the Dent family has played an integral role at the Da Vinci Science Center.  Peter Dent served as the Chairman of the Board of Da Vinci Science Center.  His wife, Kathleen, was one of the original Gala Committee Chairs.  Peter is an expert on Leonardo da Vinci and has kept a close relationship with our sister city and friends in Milan.  Peter has presented numerous programs on the topic of Leonardo da Vinci, the horse, and Italian history for the Center and serves as an adviser on all of our Leonardo offerings.

Congressman Charlie Dent, Peter’s brother, has been a strong advocate for science education and workforce development and along with his wife, Pam, has also been involved with the Center for many years.

The Distinguished Female STEM Leadership Award

Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania (In recognition of their work with Da Vinci Science Center WISE programs and scout programs)

This award recognizes female STEM professionals and organizations for leadership in advancing STEM opportunities for women and girls and their role fostering mentorship opportunities for girls aspiring to STEM professions.

Read More about Girl Scouts of Eastern Pa.

The Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania (GSEP) has been a partner with Da Vinci Science Center from its beginnings in South Bethlehem.  The Girl Scouts believe that girls are natural-born scientists! The Girl Scouts encourage girls to be curious about the world around them.  They introduce Girl Scouts of all ages to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to show them how they can improve the world.  Through the scout programs at Da Vinci Science Center, Girl Scouts spend the day or sleep over at the Center, explore its exhibit floor, and enjoy a variety of hands-on activities that help them earn a scout badge or an exclusive Da Vinci Science Center patch.

The Girl Scouts are also active participants in the Center’s Women In Science and Engineering (WISE) Initiative.  Senior Girl Scouts from throughout the region volunteer at our annual WISE Forum, hosting distinguished female STEM leaders at the reception and dinner and serving as ushers for the panel.  The Science Center is currently the recipient of a national award to build a regional ecosystem which attracts and support females in STEM careers.  The GSEP is one of the lead partners for this initiative.


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