Roanoke, Va. (May 7, 2014) — The Science Museum of Western Virginia, in partnership with Virginia Tech, today announced the inaugural Virginia Science Festival will be held Oct. 4-11 in Blacksburg and Roanoke, and invited other regions of the Commonwealth to host events under the festival umbrella.
“We know our region can be proud that such an event has its origins right here in Roanoke,” said Science Museum executive director Jim Rollings. “Most people don’t know that the Science Museum of Western Virginia and Virginia Tech have a formal partnership to help foster and encourage public understanding of science and technology. This partnership has worked so well – and the biggest proof of this is the Virginia Science Festival itself.”
Virginia Tech President Charles Steger, Carilion Clinic CEO Nancy Agee and Roanoke City Councilman Court Rosen joined Rollings in Center in the Square for the announcement. In support of the festival, the Virginia Tourism Corporation unveiled a new “Virginia is for Science Lovers” logo, and Appalachian Power presented a $25,000 sponsorship.
The Virginia Science Festival will bring thousands of families face-to-face with science professionals, amazing research and technical achievements from Virginia’s educational, non-profit and for-profit institutions. The festival’s goal is to provide hands-on, interactive inspiration for science at a time when science-based careers offer the most opportunity for future employment and social and financial advancement.
“Education does not start when one enters college, nor does it end when one leaves,” said Dr. Steger. “The festival will provide people of all ages a glimpse into what the future holds as we explore science, technology and the arts – and their inter-connectedness.”
The festival’s honorary co-chairmen are U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine. “Inspiring children and families with the wonders of science and exploration in its many forms will have a powerful impact on Virginia’s long-term economic growth and success,” the senators declared in a written statement.
Other festival partners include Roanoke Blacksburg Technology Council, Carilion Clinic, Roanoke Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau, Montgomery County and Roanoke City public schools, the Taubman Museum of Art, NASA-Langley and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.
In 2013, the Science Museum was one of only 12 recipients nationwide chosen by the Cambridge, Mass.-based Science Festival Alliance (SFA) to receive a $10,000 matching grant to help bring the festival to life. SFA provides funding via the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which was established in 1934 by Alfred Pritchard Sloan Jr., then-President and CEO of General Motors, to support science education and economic performance.