Twenty Years of Delivering on the Promise
On Saturday, November 10, nearly 400 guests attended the annual Plantasia gala at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. This year’s event celebrated the Center’s 20th anniversary and took as a theme “Delivering on the Promise.” A suite of videos featured interviews with important figures in the Center’s history and present day, including president James C. Carrington, Ph.D.; past president Roger Beachy, Ph.D.; John F. McDonnell, chairman; Dr. William H. Danforth, chairman emeritus; as well as various Center scientists, students, donors, volunteers, and supporters.

Discovery | Community | Impact
After a cocktail reception in the McDonnell Gallery, the record number of guests—including members of the Danforth Society and Center scientists—gathered in the AT&T Auditorium and Langenberg Theater for the presentation of remarks interspersed with videos.

President Carrington welcomed the crowd, then the first video screened. In “Building on a Great Idea, 1998-2010” the current chair of the Danforth Society Membership Committee, Molly Cline, Ph.D.; Danforth Center COO Sam Fiorello; Dr. Danforth, and others contemplate the “longshot” nature of Dr. Danforth’s original idea to apply plant science as a possible solution to many of the world’s problems.  “There was no playbook,” says Fiorello. “How were we going to do this?”

Remarks by Sam Fiorello, John McDonnell, and Danforth Center PI Toni Kutchan, Ph.D., followed the first video. They spoke about the risks of joining the Center early on and the need to catalyze start-up companies to bring science to market. The second video, “Delivering on the Promise,” looks at the Center from 2011 to the present day. In it, President Carrington notes that when he arrived, his mandate was “to take the Center to a new level and deliver on the mission on an even larger scale.” New Danforth Center PIs this year, Allison Miller, Ph.D., and Keith Slotkin, Ph.D., speak about being drawn to the Center by the mission and facilities. Warren Shafer, Ph.D., of Valent Biosciences speaks about the Danforth Center’s effective collaborations and partnerships in building an innovation ecosystem to speed research.

Remarks by Danforth Center PIs Rebecca Bart, Ph.D., and Allison Miller, and supporter Ruth Kim, followed. In the third video, “The Challenge Ahead,” John F. McDonnell, chairman, notes that “The real challenge is to…come up with the science…that provides more food, higher quality, with less land, fewer inputs, in a more difficult environment.”  Carrington follows with a call to action: “This is a collective effort. Scientists, educators, members of the community, our donor community, we're all in this together.”

After the program, guests enjoyed dinner, dessert, music, and remarks in the McDonnell Atrium and the William H. Danforth Wing Café.

Plantasia is an opportunity to express our gratitude to the members of the Danforth Society, whose generosity and dedication enable the Center to pursue its mission to improve the human condition through plant science. A special thank-you to our Plantasia sponsors, co-chairs, and committee members.

The Boeing Company
Ambassador & Mrs. Sam Fox
Edward Jones
Ruth Kim & David Hamilton
Anna Harris
Pat & Jane Tracy

Mr. & Mrs. Blackford F. Brauer
Ann Case
Roy Curtiss & Josephine
Laura & Norman L. Eaker
Jane Goldberg
Janet M. & Newell† S. Knight, Jr.
Mr. & Mrs. Gary E. Krosch
Sally & Ned Lemkemeier
Rosalyn & Charles Lowenhaupt
Margaret & Joe von Kaenel

Elizabeth Danforth
Ann Liberman
Dennis & Carolyn Plummer
PNC Bank
Maebelle Reed
Susanne & Chuck Shepherd
The St. Louis Trust Company
Mr. & Mrs. James von der Heydt

Carl & Jeanne Deutsch Foundation
Dr. & Mrs. Larry A. Gilbertson
Jeannette R. Huey
Katie & Chip Lerwick
Mr. & Mrs. Timothy Rodgers, Sr.
Mr. & Mrs. John W. Rowe
Walter D. & Marie L. Schmitz
Don Senti

Drs. Molly & Steven Cline
Drury Hotels Company, LLC
FieldWatch, Inc.
Kenneth R. Mares
Drs. Thomas & Ellen Moran

Molly Cline, Ph.D.
Stephanie Regagnon
Mike Scully

Mariann Baker
Jeanie & Van Brokaw
Bruce Buckland & Laura Maschoff
Teri Carrington
Ann Case
Joan & David Culver
Jeanne & Carl Deutsch
Mr. & Mrs. Adie K. Dietz
Glenda & Bill Finnie
George Fonyo
Gretta Forrester
Roberta (Robbye) Frank
Luanne & Larry Gilbertson
Jane Goldberg
Michele Gorski
Gary & Bonnie Halls
Anna Harris
Shirley & Phil Hellwege
Karen Kalish
Susan & Robert Levin
Ann Liberman
Rosalyn & Charles Lowenhaupt
Dr. Rashmi S. Nair & Mr. Ram Nair
Lisa & Jay Nouss
Penny Pennington & Mike Fidler
Sue M. Rapp
Mary & Frank Rassieur
Mary Beth & Tim Rodgers
Beth & Donn Rubin
Teresa Sanzottera
Joan & Jim Schiele
Marie & Walter Schmitz
Don Senti
Dale & Barry Sharon
Susanne & Charles Shepherd
Betty & Thad Simons
Donna Stephens
Moir Stevens
Pat & Jane Tracy
Gerry & Bob Virgil
Anne & Jim von der Heydt
Margaret & Joe von Kaenel
Nancy & Bob Wagoner
Carol & George Walker
Phoebe Weil
Virginia Weldon & Francis Austin
Matt S. Wolfe
David & Sarah Woodburn
Jim & Kathleen Woodworth