Liberty Science Center to Create the Largest Planetarium in the Western Hemisphere Thanks to $5M Gift by Jennifer Chalsty

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JERSEY CITY, N.J. – March 15, 2016 – Liberty Science Center is pleased to announce that Jennifer Chalsty, a former high school teacher, has made a generous $5M gift to the Science Center to fund the creation of the largest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere.

Ms. Chalsty’s gift will completely transform LSC and give new purpose to the facility’s iconic dome. The new planetarium will be named the Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium in her honor. Her gift—the single largest gift that LSC has ever received from an individual—will provide for the conversion of the IMAX Dome Theater from film to digital, the addition of software and hardware necessary for the theater to also function as a planetarium, the replacement of the screen, and the refurbishing of the theater. The target date for opening the Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium is December 2017.

“I want to thank Jennifer for her tremendous generosity. She is a remarkable, caring individual who is committed to educating the next generation,” said Paul Hoffman, LSC President and CEO. “My life has been enriched by my getting to know her through our work together at LSC.”

Ms. Chalsty praised the work of the Center, and particularly its STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) educational programs serving children from underserved communities. She said, “As a former teacher, I know that education is life’s great equalizer. I also know that if we hope to fill the tremendous need for more top quality STEM professionals, we have to start inspiring children and imbuing in them a lifelong love for these subjects. That is the mission of the Liberty Science Center and why I’m proud to support this great institution.”

Ms. Chalsty was born in South Africa and attended The University of The Witwatersrand, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree and a High School Teacher’s diploma. After teaching high school in Pretoria for two years, she moved to North America and taught in Montreal. She has since lived in New York City, Texas, The Hague, and London. She has been a New Jersey resident for about five decades; she currently resides in Short Hills, NJ. Jennifer joined LSC’s Board in 2004. When LSC expanded from 168,000 square feet to 300,000 square feet in 2007, her generous support made possible the creation of the 20,000-square-foot Jennifer A. Chalsty Center for Science Learning and Teaching. The facility features a large forum, a 100-seat interactive theater, a computer learning room, and five laboratory classrooms including one designed for scientists ages 2-6.

About Liberty Science Center

Liberty Science Center ( is a 300,000-square-foot not-for-profit learning center located in Liberty State Park on the Jersey City bank of the Hudson near the Statue of Liberty. Dedicated to bringing the power, promise, and pure fun of science and technology to people of all ages, Liberty Science Center houses 12 museum exhibition halls, a live animal collection with 110 species, giant aquariums, a 3D theater, the world’s largest IMAX Dome Theater, live simulcast surgeries, a tornado-force wind simulator, K-12 classrooms and labs, and teacher-development programs. More than 250,000 students visit the Science Center each year, and tens of thousands more participate in the Center’s offsite and online programs. LSC is the most visited cultural institution in New Jersey with more than 650,000 visitors annually and the largest interactive science center in the NYC-NJ metropolitan area.

Media Contact:
Mary Meluso