PacSci Perspectives

Festival Spotlight: Stan McNaughton, Event Co-Chair

by | Jul 11, 2016

As a teenage busboy, Stan McNaughton kept his ears open as he cleared tables and scraped plates at Pacific Science Center events, enthralled by speakers who discussed cutting-edge science. He was especially thrilled by Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson expounding on the race to the moon.

Fast-forward 50 years. McNaughton, now CEO and Chairman of the Board of PEMCO Insurance Companies, is still enthralled by science and Pacific Science Center.

“The wonder of science is that it’s constantly changing,” says McNaughton, who has served on our Board of Directors more than 17 years. “Today, in a nano way, instead of looking at the stars, you’re looking into your genes—a whole other universe.”

Helping young people “catch fire on science” is what motivates McNaughton and PEMCO Insurance to support the Science Center through sponsorship of Polar Science Weekend and also a bus that provides free field-trip transportation for children from under served communities. “Once they’ve caught fire, they’re thinking, observing, wanting to learn more.”

Pacific Science Center’s friendly staff and interactive exhibits are especially good at drawing in kids. “I like hands-on,” McNaughton says. “The vast majority of kids are kinetic learners. When you watch kids come through, there’s this sense of excitement and wonder; great conversations.”

McNaughton is looking forward to more terrific conversations about science at The 50th Annual Festival of the Fountains on July 22, an event he co-chairs with his wife, Kathy. They’ve attended the gala event more than two dozen times, each year engaging in captivating conversations with other guests about DNA research, arctic ice, or the latest personal health technology. “We’re a network of learners,” McNaughton says. “Whether they’re involved with science or they’re science stalkers, the people who come are fascinating.”

Pacific Science Center is a place of active discovery, where curiosity is celebrated, the known universe is questioned, and ideas are born. On one Friday night each summer for fifty years, friends of the Science Center have gathered under its iconic arches for the Northwest’s pre-eminent outdoor black tie gala, a one of a kind evening of inspiring fun and powerful impact.

Join us July 22 for our largest event yet, as we celebrate fifty years of Festival, toast the Science Center’s rich history, and ring in the next generation of leadership and innovation.

Festival of the Fountains provides the fuel for innovative and award-winning science education experiences that sparks a lifetime of curiosity, and a future full of possibility. Tables of ten begin at $3,500, and tickets begin at $350 per person. Enjoy full access to exhibits, entertainment, The Art of the Brick, and special documentary screenings.

Festival Late Night, a new addition to Festival, offers a new wave of 21+ supporters to join the festivities at 10 p.m.

Event and table sponsorship opportunities are available.

For more information and reservations, visit