Roger Smith, retired director of community affairs for the A.O. Smith Foundation, and his wife Judy are giving $1 million to Discovery World.
The Smiths’ gift will “improve Discovery World’s overall visitor experience and expand the visibility” of the science and technology museum, located on the lakefront in downtown Milwaukee, according to an announcement.
The Pilot House, a ballroom and terrace at Discovery World, will be renamed the Roger and Judy Smith Family Pilot House and fitted with a new LED lighting system. The donation will be formally announced at the organization's Ignite the Spark Gala on Saturday.
“Discovery World is really an important asset to the community because of what they’re teaching young kids and adults,” said Roger Smith. “I love it and it is my number one nonprofit. It’s a real honor for me to give a large gift in order to make this Pilot House and all of Discovery World a better place.”
Roger has served on Discovery World's board of directors for more than a decade. He is the son of Lloyd B. "Ted" Smith, a member of the fourth generation of the A.O. Smith founding family.
Roger and Judy said their family has held several celebrations at Discovery World over the years.
“Discovery World has been a gathering place for our family,” Judy Smith said. “We come every Wednesday night in the summer for Live at the Lakefront and have made many friends there. Our daughter Katie and her husband Mickey got married in the amphitheater and had the reception in the Pilot House. It’s such a fun place to bring anybody, not just kids, because there’s just so much to see.”
The Ignite the Spark Gala will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday at Discovery World.