Honoring Bill Gates with the 2018 David Packard Award
Since 2014, the Aquarium has periodically honored leaders whose activities and achievements embody the qualities of thought and action that David Packard held dear. These individuals have effectively worked to make the future of our planet surer and more sustainable.
In October, we recognized visionary Microsoft co-founder and philanthropic innovator Bill Gates at a dinner event attended by 300 guests representing Silicon Valley's most iconic technology company leaders, along with global ocean conservationists and philanthropists.
"Bill has done so much to improve the human condition by harnessing technology to advance social good, and by launching bold philanthropic initiatives to make lives better around the world and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to live a healthy, productive life," said Executive Director Julie Packard.
Attendees heard from Bill and award dinner chair Meg Whitman during an engaging fireside chat. They covered topics from the role technology can play in environmental conservation, to new approaches philanthropy can bring to pressing global challenges and the importance of optimism.
Julie Packard shared her vision for creating a healthy future for the global ocean.
"For anyone who loves science, this is a fun time to be alive," Bill said. "We have to make sure the best scientists are working on the problems."
He reminded everyone that there's tremendous public support for tackling the big issues.
"The ocean, health, education—people really do care about these things," he said. To make progress, "we need to take risks, but also to be patient" when trying to solve complex global issues.
That's more challenging when it comes to climate change, Bill said, because, "We have a deadline to do good work quickly. We have to innovate across large parts of the economy."
Julie Packard said, "I was especially encouraged when he recognized that 'Studying the oceans is key to climate change'—an area where our work and that of our colleagues at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute is playing a critical role."
From left: George P. Shultz, recipient of the inaugural David Packard Award, Charlotte Mailliard Shultz, Julie Packard and Bill Gates.
Guests attending the event at Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park.
The importance of the ocean to our well-being is something David Packard understood in bringing the vision for the Aquarium to life. Then, by creating the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), he identified the ocean as Earth's last unexplored frontier—one of unparalleled importance to our lives. He brought to the task a quest for learning and a deep understanding of what we can accomplish when we unleash the talents of creative people so they can do great work.
We're so grateful for the support of the many donors who came together to honor Bill, and who are helping us take our vision for a vibrant blue planet to the next level.
Co-chairs include: Tegan and Brian Acton, Lynne and Marc Benioff, Helen and Peter Bing, Scott Corwon, Barbara and Ray Dalio, Catherine and John Debs, Susan and Michael Dell, Ann and John Doerr, Joanne and Art Hall, Andrea and John Hennessy, Lyda Hill, Lori and Jen-Hsun Huang, Jeanne and Bill Landreth, Agatha and Steve Luczo, DeeDee and Burt McMurtry, Audra and Sean McNicholas, Betty and Gordon Moore, Christine and Michael Morgan, Rebecca and James Morgan, Sally and Bill Neukom, Susan and Lynn Orr, Cindi and Curtis Priem, Delanie and Peter Read, Mary and Steven Read, Michelle Rhyu and Steve Neal, Karen and Jim Tyler, Lisa and Mark Wan, Shelley and Dion Weisler, and Susie and Gideon Yu.