HudsonAlpha honors major donors with Idea Chairs

In February and March, HudsonAlpha recognized several of our major donors with Idea Chairs. Donors have the opportunity to name the tables and chairs in the HudsonAlpha atrium, a place where scientists, entrepreneurs and educators come together to share ideas that lead to groundbreaking discoveries. The Idea Chairs and Idea Tables represent not only the collaborations on the campus but also those with HudsonAlpha’s many friends and supporters.

The companies and individuals recently honored with Idea Chairs are listed below in alphabetical order.

The Boeing Company supports many educational outreach projects that inspire the next generation of scientists. “Neil Lamb does such a great job teaching people of all ages in our community about biotechnology,” said Tina Watts, community investor at the Boeing Company. “We’re thrilled to be a part of it all.”

Tony DiCerbo started supporting HudsonAlpha in 2009 and has provided amazing support every year since then. He is especially interested in supporting programs that help children affected by genetic disorders. “I’m excited about the ideas that people will come up with sitting in my chair,” Tony said.

First Commercial Bank is a long-time supporter of HudsonAlpha and a sponsor of the Tie the Ribbons luncheon. “HudsonAlpha does such great work in our community and the state,” said  Beth Sippel, president and CEO of First Commercial Bank. “We are so proud to sponsor Tie the Ribbons and to support HudsonAlpha’s mission.”

Dorcas Harris was one of HudsonAlpha’s first supporters. “I knew from the beginning that Jim Hudson’s ideas were visionary,” Dorcas explains. “Who can not respond to the mission of HudsonAlpha?” She’s supported the Institute in many ways, including helping to start our planned giving program and serving as a HudsonAlpha ambassador to help raise HudsonAlpha’s profile in the community. She also supports many of our annual events.

Wally Kirkpatrick also got involved in HudsonAlpha in its earliest days because he believed in the potential of biotechnology. “I genuinely believe that Huntsville will be the biotech capital of the world—all because of HudsonAlpha,” said Wally. He has supported HudsonAlpha in a variety of ways over the years, including sponsoring every Spring Benefit and hosting HudsonAlpha events at his lodge.

Shirley and George McCrary are also among the Institute’s first supporters. The McCrarys are so passionate about HudsonAlpha’s education projects that they established a fund to sponsor a summer intern in the BioTrain program. “The funding the McCrary’s provided was one of the first major gifts the education department received,” explained Neil Lamb, vice president for educational outreach. “Their gift was a vote of confidence in our work and touched my soul deeply.”

ServisFirst Bank supports the popular HudsonAlpha community education program Biotech 101. They have also sponsored the Tie the Ribbons luncheon as well as programs for Physicians for HudsonAlpha. “Everything HudsonAlpha is doing is just amazing,” said Andy Kattos, president and CEO of ServisFirst. “In addition, HudsonAlpha has made great strides in biotech much faster than I ever expected.”

Thank you to all of our Idea Chair recipients for your years of support of HudsonAlpha.

HudsonAlpha Idea Tables and Idea Chairs are given in recognition of gifts ranging from $50,000 to $200,000. To support HudsonAlpha’s mission and to learn more about naming opportunities, please contact Lynne Berry at