Petit foundation event furthers its missions at science gala

Honoring women in science

At the Petit Family Foundation’s Evening Honoring Women in Science, Jeffrey R. Immelt, chairman and chief executive officer of General Electric, stands with Dr. William A. Petit Jr, chairman and president of the Petit foundation, and John Rathgeber, president of Connecticut Business & Industry Association.

The Petit Family Foundation supported and promoted one of its major objectives at its first Evening Honoring Women in Science: “foster education of young people, especially women, in the sciences.” The event was held at the Connecticut Science Center in Hartford.

The fundraiser was headed by honorary chairman and speaker Jeffrey R. Immelt, the chairman and chief executive officer of General Electric. Immelt was a classmate of William A. Petit Jr. at Dartmouth College, graduates of the Class of 1978`.

Guest speakers were Jennifer Whiffen and Anabella Villalobos who have achieved high levels of success in the field of science. Whiffen is a senior biomedical/design engineer with Covidien surgical devices manufacturer in New Have. Villalobos is a vice president of neuroscience and antibody drug conjugate medical chemistry at Pfizer.

Immelt has been chairman and CEO at GE since 2001, rising through several global leadership positions since joining the company in 1982.

At the gala, it was announced the Petit Family Foundation was providing a $50,000 grant to establish Michaela’s Garden on the roof of the science center.

The project is named for Michaela Rose Petit who died in 2007 at the age of 11. Michaela, her sister, Hayley, and her mother, Jennifer, all lost their lives in a violent home invasion.

Michaela loved the flowers and foliage plants that she and her father planted and maintained over the years at their Cheshire home. One bed of flowers in particular was dear to Michaela: her Four O'Clocks. To honor her memory, "Michaela's Four O'Clocks" have been replanted with seeds harvested from the previous year. As a result there are now hundreds of Four O'Clock Gardens in the world — all the progeny of Michaela's Garden, which like the foundation's other projects, focuses on celebrating their interests and good works.

Four O’Clock seeds are available at the AMP office at 32 Whiting St., Plainville.

During the event, guests also experienced the hands-on exhibits, dined and participated in the silent auction.

The final figure of monies raised by the Women in Science gala has not been announced.

Posted: Thursday, December 15, 2011 11:21 am | Updated: 11:28 am, Thu Dec 15, 2011.

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