LOS ANGELES, March 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On Saturday, March 9, 2013 at the California Science Center's 15 th annual Discovery Ball, nearly 850 guests celebrated "Space Exploration: Past, Present and Future". As part of the festivities, guests previewed "Mission 26: The Big Endeavour" a photographic exhibition which opened on Monday, March 11, and dined under the wings of Space Shuttle Endeavour in the Samuel Oschin Pavilion.
The annual black-tie gala, a philanthropic event, raised more than $1.5 million to benefit the California Science Center Foundation through table sponsorships, a live auction conducted by KTLA Morning News Co-anchor Chris Schauble, and a raffle for a 2013 Lexus GS 450h. Science Center President, Jeffrey Rudolph notes that, "The 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: California Congressman Dana Rohrbacher; California State Controller John Chiang; California State Senator Rod Wright; California Assembly Members Richard Bloom, Steve Bradford and Reggie Jones-Sawyer; Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; former astronauts Daniel Olivas and Garrett Reisman; and celebrities Debbie Allen and June Lockhart.
The evening's honorary chair, Lynda Oschin of the Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Oschin Family Foundation, was a featured speaker and gala co-chairs Raul A. Anaya, Bank of America and Michelle C. Kerrick, Deloitte & Touch LLP presided over the evening program.A highlight of the program was when James E. Lentz, president and CEO of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A, Inc. presented the Science Center Foundation with keys to the Toyota Tundra that pulled Endeavour over the 405 freeway bridge on its journey to the Science Center in October 2012. It will be on display in the Science Center parking lot as an exhibit where guests can lift the truck by using a giant lever. The evening check-in and reception served as the beginning of a virtual time-line where guests experienced an ambiance reminiscent of the year 1961, a time that reflects America's newfound fascination with space travel. After the dinner program, which took place in the present, guests were visually transported to the year 2099 where they enjoyed a "Tron" inspired, futuristic nightclub.