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Samuel Oschin crossed Alps by elephant, planted flag at North Pole, and in death, names Endeavour buildings

by John Rabe | Off-Ramp®

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At the California Science Center, everybody was happy: President Jeff Rudolph, Lynda Oschin, and her late husband Samuel Oschin. The event: the naming of the Shuttle Endeavor's new home after Oschin. John Rabe

The late Samuel Oschin was big in real estate and S&L's, and now his name will be huge at the California Science Center, south of downtown LA. His foundation, headed by his widow Lynda Oschin, has made a big but unspecified gift to the center that will help it shelter the Space Shuttle Endeavor at the California Science Center.

Oschin's name goes on the temporary pavilion that'll house Endeavor when it arrives in LA this fall, and then it goes on the Science Center's new wing, set to open in 2017: the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center.

The foundation gift, which brings the Endeavor capital campaign almost halfway to its $200-million goal, almost didn't happen. Lynda Oschin says the foundation had already named a cancer center at Cedars-Sinai, and the planetarium at the Griffith Observatory, and didn’t support the shuttle gift ... until Jeff Rudolph, the Science Center’s president, got her to attend an event at the center with Endeavor crew and a group of schoolkids.

Then, Oschin says, she was hooked. "Watching the children watch the astronauts, and interact with the astronauts later on, that’s what it was all about. And one of these kids will discover the cure for cancer, will get us back into our space program."

In his spare time, Samuel Oschin was a science nut and explorer. He went to the North Pole, up the Amazon, and across the Alps on elephants, like Hannibal. Lynda Oschin says the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center encompasses all his myriad interests because it'll focus on the science and technology behind aerospace. "This is my husband’s vision and his passion," she says. "Truly everything he dreamed, loved, and believed in. Children, education, space and astronomy, adventure and discovery, inspiration, creativity, science, math, exploration, innovation, engineering, commitment ... all wrapped into one."

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