Tribute and photo courtesy of ASTC.
Todd Happer, Senior Manager of Member Engagement at the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC), passed away on Wednesday, September 1, 2021, from complications of cancer. The ASTC Board of Directors and staff share our condolences with the many members of our community who treasured Todd as a trusted colleague and true friend.
Todd began his career at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago directly following his graduation from Northwestern University in 1988. In subsequent years, Todd led marketing and communications for several institutions, including Science Central, the Orlando Science Center, and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. Todd continued to serve the museum and science center community as Associate Publisher of Scientific American Explorations, and he worked for more than a decade as Vice President, Science Education and Museums Editor at Natural History magazine.
Early in his career, Todd served as the Assistant Editor for Dimensions magazine and other ASTC publications. Todd returned to ASTC in 2016 where he most recently led ASTC’s member engagement efforts. In fact, there seemed nothing he enjoyed more than connecting with colleagues from the global science center community.
Throughout his career, Todd made major contributions to the association, including serving for many years on the ASTC Conference Program Planning Committee, helping to shape one of the premier professional development opportunities for our field. Todd’s support of ASTC members has been especially impactful during the COVID-19 pandemic as he has led multiple efforts to ensure that ASTC members have the connections and resources they need to navigate this crisis.
Todd built an encyclopedic knowledge of science centers, science museums, and informal learning institutions, which he used to facilitate connections between members, help share effective approaches, and increase the public’s understanding of the work and impact of these institutions. Todd’s work helped hundreds of institutions around the world to learn about innovative new strategies, develop their staff capacity, and scale their impact on the communities they serve.
Perhaps most important is Todd’s impact on the countless individuals with whom he built relationships over the years. Todd truly “knew everyone,” and he was always seeking to understand each person’s unique perspectives and find ways to support their priorities and strengthen their work. Todd’s loss will be felt by so many, but his memory and his legacy will continue.
To honor that legacy, ASTC has established the Todd Happer Memorial Scholarship Fund which will help support participation in future ASTC Annual Conferences from those at small or remote science centers who would otherwise be unable to attend. Click here for more information about the fund and how to contribute.