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Wistar’s 125th Anniversary Gala Celebrates the Institute’s Past, Present, and Bold Future
Ben Leach
(l to r) Richard Horowitz, Adele Schaeffer, Helen Pudlin, Dario Altieri

A year’s worth of celebrating the legacy of The Wistar Institute culminated in front of City Hall at Dilworth Park in Philadelphia this past weekend. More than 400 guests gathered to attend Wistar’s 125th Anniversary Gala, held to commemorate Wistar’s history, research achievements and impact on improving human health. City Hall was a fitting location – for the past 125 years, Wistar has been a beacon of scientific discovery right in the heart of Philadelphia, sharing a joint history of growth and development in the region and beyond.

Every detail of the event was designed around Wistar’s science. Tables were laid out in a pattern meant to evoke the double-helix design of DNA and were named according to the periodic table of elements. The mood was further set by images of cells projected across the tent celling and beakers and flasks were adorned with floral arrangements on every table.

Joe Palca, science correspondent for NPR, served as the evening’s emcee and introduced a number of distinguished speakers to discuss The Wistar Institute and its legacy. Samuel Vail Rhoads and James Wistar spoke to the history of the Wistar family and the founding of the Institute 125 years ago. A historical tribute video shown during the gala showcased The Wistar Institute’s illustrious history of discoveries and breakthroughs.

Toasts were made throughout the evening by Wistar President and CEO Dario C. Altieri, M.D., Executive Vice President and Vaccine & Immunotherapy Center Director David B. Weiner, Ph.D., Professor Chi Van Dang, M.D., Ph.D., and Professor Maureen Murphy, Ph.D., who honored Wistar’s seminal contributions in cancer and vaccine research, and the diversity of Wistar’s staff throughout its history.

In addition to celebrating Wistar’s 125th birthday, the evening honored Helen P. Pudlin, Esq., chair of Wistar’s Board of Trustees since 2012 and a member of the Board since 2001.

Helen received the Wistar Award, which is given to an individual who reflects the qualities of compassion, integrity, generosity, commitment, and vision that the Institute’s founding members demonstrated. Presented by fellow Board members Richard Horowitz and Adele Schaeffer, also Gala chair, Helen was joined by family and friends as she was honored in a special tribute video that emphasized her commitment to Wistar and biomedical research.

Click here to view an album of photos taken at the Wistar’s celebratory 125th gala.