On November 4, 2011, LPL hosted a celebration of a life well lived, to honor the life and career of Michael J. Drake. Approximately 250 colleagues and friends attended. The event was streamed live by Arizona Public Media.
Tim Swindle, acting department head and director, hosted the program. Speakers included Joaquin Ruiz, Executive Dean, UA Colleges of Letters, Arts, and Sciences; Matthew Drake, M.D., Oregon Health Sciences Center; and Eugene G. Sander, President of the University of Arizona.
Dean Ruiz announced at the start of the program that the building at 1415 N. Sixth Avenue, formerly known as both the PHOENIX Science Operations Center and the OSIRIS-REx building, had been officially re-named the Michael J. Drake Building.
Several of Mike's former colleagues, students, post-docs, and collaborators also shared their memories and experiences. Invited speakers included: David Lindstrom, Program Officer, NASA Headquarters (Retired); Elizabeth Roemer, Professor Emerita, PTYS/LPL; Robert G. Strom, Professor Emeritus, PTYS/LPL (recorded comments); Brad Smith, PTYS/LPL Faculty, 1974-1990; John Holloway, Professor Emeritus, Arizona State University; Peter Strittmatter, Dept. Head/Director, UA Astronomy/Steward Observatory; and Joaquin Ruiz.
Speakers representing former students and post-doctoral fellows were: John H. Jones, Senior Planetary Scientist, NASA Johnson Space Center; Melissa Lamberton, MFA Student, Iowa State University (recorded comments); Valerie Hillgren, Research Scientist, Carnegie Institution of Washington; and Nancy Chabot, Planetary Scientist, Johns Hopkins/Applied Physics Lab.
Susan Brew (Manager, Arizona Space Grant Consortium) and Dante Lauretta (OSIRIS-REx PI and Associate Professor, PTYS/LPL) also spoke about Mike's life, research, and legacy to LPL, to education, and to the field of planetary science.
Guests, including many LPL alumni, shared stories and memories at a reception following the program.