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Robert Essner, retired chairman of the board and CEO of Wyeth (now Pfizer) and a Sarasota resident since 2009, is chairing  Mote’s $50 million Oceans of Opportunity campaign, which, since it was announced last January, has raised more than $40 million.

“I wanted to stay involved with science endeavors, but also I got to know Michael Crosby, the president of Mote, and I was impressed.  I wanted to help him achieve the ambitious vision he has. It’s very tangible; it’s not pie in the sky. [And] Mote isn’t just in Sarasota, it’s in Charlotte Harbor, down in the Keys [and] in the southern part of Florida.”

“Mote has ambitious plans to fund its scientific growth and restore infrastructure. Endowment building, through legacy gifts, is an important part of it.”

“[Since volunteering for Mote] I have a greater appreciation for its work. If you live on or near the water, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to realize how important the quality of the water is to the quality of your life. It’s right in your face.”

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