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Ben Patrusky celebrated at ScienceWriters2013

Retiring CASW Executive Director Ben Patrusky was honored during ScienceWriters2013 in Gainesville, Florida.

Colleagues surprised Ben Patrusky with tributes of words, music and contributions to a new CASW fund in his honor as they gathered in Gainesville, Florida for ScienceWriters2013 and the 51st New Horizons in Science briefings.

Rick Borchelt, a veteran science writers and former CASW board member, opened the annual Awards Gala held by CASW and the National Association of Science Writers on Nov. 2, 2013 by setting friends’ and colleagues tributes to Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsodies on a Theme of Paganini. Borchelt said the last time he heard the work, Ben was “fooling around” with Variation 18 during a New Horizons conference.

“The more you ask about Ben, the more facets—rhapsodies—he represents,” Borchelt said. “Few of us have been privileged to see all these variations and facets of Ben’s life and career.”

CASW Past President Joann Rodgers presented Patrusky with a citation recognizing his “decades of brilliant contributions to the Council, to science writing and to the public understanding of science and technology.” And Immediate Past President Cristine Russell surprised Patrusky with an announcement that friends and colleagues had donated more than $35,000 to CASW to create a Patrusky Fund to carry on his work.

Patrusky expressed his gratitude and affection to the auditorium filled with science writers at the University of Florida’s Harn Museum of Art, who greeted him and then returned him to his seat with sustained standing ovations.

A crystal prism presented to Patrusky honors the establishment of the Patrusky Lectureship, which will be supported by the fund. The first lecture was presented the following day during New Horizons in Science by renowned Harvard chemist George M. Whitesides.