The Heroines

Patty Carey

is honored with a Premium Paver from Ginger Mayfield

 Patty  Carey Patty Carey has been one of Kansas' leading figures in the development of public science education.

In 1962, fueled by her life-long interest in science, and motivated by the national urgency created by the Russian's launching of Sputnik, Mrs. Carey became the driving force to develop Kansas' first public planetarium - the Hutchinson Planetarium. Working alone, Patty organized a non-profit foundation and raised nearly $10,000 from a weekend of fund-raising from friends and supporters to purchase a used star projector. Using donated folding chairs, a crude fiberglass projection dome, and a staff of volunteer labor, the Hutchinson Planetarium opened its doors in the only place Patty could find - an unused corner of the poultry building on the Kansas State Fair Grounds. The grandeur of the heavens, and of Patty's dream, was not diminished by sharing working space with cages of chickens.

Under Mrs. Carey's leadership as president of the Kansas Science and Arts Foundation, the Hutchinson Planetarium quickly grew and prospered. In 1966, in an effort to further improve the educational impact of the facility, Mrs. Carey spearheaded a major fund-raising drive to build a new Hutchinson Planetarium. Opened later that year, and located in its new home on the Hutchinson Junior College campus, the new institution was soon recognized as one of the nation's leading planetarium facilities. But Patty continued to dream.

Mrs. Carey's latest and most major challenge has been the formation and development of the Kansas Cosmosphere and Discovery Center, considered by many to be one of the world's great space museums. Initially proposed by Mrs. Carey in 1976, the KCDC became a reality when she led a successful multi-million dollar fund-raising effort, and helped oversee many areas of its development. Today, the KCDC houses one of the world's great collections of space artifacts, a collection valued at more than $100,000,000 and exhibited in educational displays that have won numerous national international design awards. It is the home of the "Future Astronaut Training Program," a unique space camp that provides students from around the world the experience of astronaut training. It houses one of the nation's few OMNIMAX theatres, as well as a planetarium, and numerous other educational programs. With an annual attendance of more than 300,000, the KCDC has quickly become the number one tourist attraction in Kansas.

Patty continues her role as vice president of the board after nearly 25 years in that position. When not travelling or playing a round of tennis, she still finds time to give daily service to the Cosmosphere operations. As an honor to her far-ranging importance to the institution, the staff has bestowed on Mrs. Carey the official title of "Executive Mom."

Besides her work with the KCSC, Mrs. Carey has served on the boards of numerous local, regional and international organizations. She recently served as president of the Wesley Towers Retirement Center Foundation and served on the boards of Leadership Hutchinson and Youth Leadership Hutchinson. She is a past board member of Wesley Towers Retirement Center, Hutchinson Hospital, Hutchinson Hospital Foundation and the Mental Health Association Reno County. She was instrumental in the development of the Hutchinson Arts Council, the Hutchinson Hospital Foundation, the Senior Citizens Development Task Force, the Wesley Towers Retirement Center, the Council for Retarded Children, and served as a member of the task force to develop a major new cultural arts center in Hutchinson. She has served as president of the Hutchinson Women's Golf Association and has been integrally involved with the Hutchinson Follies, a charitable fund raising organization, since helping found the organization in 1950. She was a member of Vestry of Grace Episcopal Church and has also served as a senior warden of the church.

Local awards received by Mrs. Carey include, the Civitan Club Citizenship Award in 1964, the Soroptimist Club Woman of the Year in 1977, the Chamber of Commerce Best of Hutchinson in 1979, the Salvation Army Citizenship Award in 1987 and the Rotary International Outstanding Volunteer Award in 1993.

Mrs. Carey has served on the board of the St. Francis Boys' Homes, Salina, KS, the Hutchinson Community Foundation board, and as secretary of the board of the International Space Theater Consortium, an organization of OMNIMAX and IMAX Theatre operators. She has been a patron of the Kansas Press Women's Association from 1976 to the present. She received the Governors Award of Merit in 1986 and the Governor and First Lady's Volunteer Award in 1990. In 1986, she was a presenter at "Celebrate," Women Who Care About Kansas.

Mrs. Carey's scientific interests are not limited to space science as she participated actively with the Rice County Historical Society in an archeological dig sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution.

She was born and raised in Oklahoma City and attended the National Cathedral School for Girls in Washington, DC and Sarah Lawrence College in New York. In 1941, she became a Kansan with her marriage to Howard J. Carey, Jr. of Hutchinson, They have three sons, five grandson and one granddaughter.

November, 2001