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January 23, 2002



The Clark Foundation is pleased to announce today a $1 million contribution to Salt Lake County's new planetarium, currently under construction in the Gateway district at 400 West and 100 South. This exciting 21st-century facility, scheduled to open in November of this year, will be called the Sheila M. Clark Planetarium, in memory of Foundation Chairman Michael Clark's late mother.

The Clark Foundation is also pleased that the new Sheila M. Clark Planetarium will house a state-of-the-art star theater to be named in honor of the George T. Hansen family, who generously funded the creation of the county's first planetarium in 1965.

The Clark Foundation was incorporated in 1996 as a Utah-based, private non-profit foundation, supporting informal science education and promoting public science literacy.

Foundation Chairman Michael Clark says, "I've loved science ever since I was a child, and the planetarium has always been a special place to me. As a student at the University of Utah, I wrote software for the planetarium projector, combining my lifelong interests in astronomy and computers. After I established the Clark Foundation, the planetarium seemed like the natural and logical choice to receive our first donation. That was an $8,000 gift in 1997 to help produce 'Where in the Universe is Carmen Sandiego.'

"I've watched with interest in the past year as Salt Lake County's new mayor-council government made the commitment to build a much-needed new facility for the planetarium. With this new form of county government and the long-term support it has committed to the planetarium, I've been very encouraged for the planetarium's future."

Foundation Vice Chairman MaryBeth Clark says, "We're grateful for this opportunity to bring science education to the families of our community, and to remember a beloved member of our own family. The Sheila M. Clark Planetarium will be a place where families and children will be educated, excited, and encouraged to pursue dreams and knowledge.

"My interest in the planetarium is family-centered for another reason. My brother, Seth Jarvis, is the current planetarium director and a past director of the Clark Foundation. Our Sunday dinner conversation has included science education and the planetarium since I was a teenager."

The Clark Foundation's $1 million contribution will fund an exhibits program for the new planetarium, ensuring that every visitor will have free access to an innovative educational experience.

"Every cent of our donation will go into something planetarium visitors can directly see or put their hands on," says MaryBeth Clark. "It's an honor to contribute to an institution that means so much to our community."


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