Dear Danforth Center family,

It is with mixed emotions that I write you this farewell letter.  More than twenty years ago I first heard Dr. Danforth articulate a dream of establishing the world’s pre-eminent plant research institute in St. Louis.  Little did I know then that I was about to embark on a career opportunity of a lifetime. Since that transformative meeting with Dr. Danforth it has been my honor to first help shape the plan that would launch the Danforth Center, and then serve as the Danforth Center’s Chief Operating Officer.  Though I am saddened to be leaving this grand undertaking that I have so loved, I am excited to begin the next chapter of my career as President and CEO of the Cortex Innovation Community in Saint Louis. 

More than saying goodbye, I want to use this message to thank the many people who have made my job, and my life, so wonderful over these last many years.

First, I want to thank the Center Board, our volunteers, and all of our generous supporters.  Without your time, wisdom and generosity, we would never have reached the heights that we have attained.

Second, I want to thank the Center’s incredible administrative and scientific teams.  A more passionate and dedicated group of professionals you will not find.  Our administrative team does a masterful job of balancing their dual roles as providers of service to facilitate mission impact, and front-line stewards of the Center’s precious resources.  Our scientists are a group of passionate individuals not only expert in their fields of research, but also dedicated to finding ways to address our planet’s grand challenges and positively impact our world. I am proud to have worked alongside them all these years.

Third, I want to thank Jim Carrington for his leadership and more importantly his friendship.  I will miss knowing that I can walk into his office, make a reference to an obscure movie, and know that he will understand exactly what I mean.  Jim has helped elevate the Center to a place of scientific excellence second to none.  He has also helped build a culture of collaboration and discovery that allows the Center to serve as the hub of innovation that it has become. 

Finally, I would like to thank Dr. Danforth, without whom none of this would have taken flight.  Dr. Danforth’s vision and selflessness provide us all with an example of what a community can achieve.  I will count my years working with Dr. Danforth as the most rewarding of my life.

Soon I’ll be off to my position at Cortex, another of Dr. Danforth’s regional offspring.  I am excited for the challenge ahead of me and for the possibility to continue to drive our region forward.  Though I will no longer be a Danforth Center employee, I will never leave the Danforth Center family.

Thank you,

Sam Fiorello