Mission Moment: Visiting Tomorrowland


One couple’s journey into the HudsonAlpha Foundation’s Double Helix Society

Walt Disney built his world through imagination with the help of engineers. He coined them “imagineers.” And in Disneyland’s Tomorrowland, there was a spaceship labeled “rocket to the moon.” It was an idea — and image — that resonated with Nancy Sheppard, who grew up in California. Disney’s Tomorrowland grew her curiosity and imagination.

Later, in the mid-1960s, Nancy and her husband, Dr. Ray Sheppard, moved to the Huntsville community where Werner Von Braun and his team were testing the potential of sending rockets to space. Three years later, a man landed on the moon. For Nancy, Tomorrowland became a reality.

Nancy spent her career dedicated to nursing and education. Ray is an OB-GYN surgeon who has practiced medicine for nearly 50 years. Both have been passionate about advancing HudsonAlpha’s mission since their first visit to the Institute in 2013. Today, the Sheppards view HudsonAlpha as the next “Tomorrowland”

“Ray and I want to be part of this ‘Tomorrowland,'” said Nancy. “I believe we are all born with gifts to share in this world; gifts with innate abilities to help move the species forward. The scientists at HudsonAlpha are doing their part to improve the human condition. We can do our part by giving of our time, talent, and treasure through volunteerism, continued learning, or financial contributions to HudsonAlpha.”

The Sheppards have made a lasting impact at HudsonAlpha with contributions to Genomic Medicine and Education. Their hope is that someday their great grandchildren will hear about today’s discoveries at HudsonAlpha with wonder and admiration. To optimize their philanthropic giving, they have explored creative ways to support HudsonAlpha through planned giving.

Donors who support HudsonAlpha through estate planning are members of the HudsonAlpha Foundation’s Double Helix Society. This committed group of supporters enjoy benefits such as recognition in the annual report, name on the Double Helix Society donor wall and an invitation to the annual society luncheon. For more information or to join, please click here.