In Memoriam: The Wertheim UF Scripps Institute Remembers Alexander W. Dreyfoos, Jr.

Renate and Alex Dreyfoos, Jr.

JUPITER, Fla.— Few individuals have had as great an impact on their community as engineer, inventor, investor and visionary Alexander W. Dreyfoos, Jr., has had on Palm Beach County, Florida.

The community of scientists and scholars at The Herbert Wertheim UF Scripps Institute for Biomedical Innovation & Technology mourn his passing, and remember with gratitude the impact he has had, and will continue to have, on the scientific community here in Jupiter, Florida, and across the United States.

Dreyfoos, a graduate of the MIT Sloan School of Management and Harvard Business School and a former employee of IBM and Technicolor, founded a company, Photo Electronics Corporation, that won an Academy Award in 1971. Dreyfoos and his team had developed technology that improved color reproduction in motion pictures and television through analysis of film negatives.

He also helped bring color to our lives at The Wertheim UF Scripps Institute, by becoming an early financial supporter, by advocating for science and science education, and by championing the addition of the iconic silver spire that tops our main building.

The spire frames the entrance to the institute.

“Alex felt that the institute should be a beacon for science in Florida, so after joining The Scripps Research Institute’s board of trustees, he challenged the architects of our permanent campus to add an artistic flourish that could be visible from afar,” said Patrick Griffin, Ph.D., scientific director of the institute. “That’s how the spire came to be. It was meant to evoke the double-helix of DNA, and to give a feeling that one was entering a very special place. It will always inspire the people who visit our campus, and we will always remember him for it.”

Dreyfoos held 10 U.S. and numerous foreign patents in photography and electronics, many with his business partner George W. Mergens. His Video Color Negative Analyzer is included in the Smithsonian Institution’s permanent collection.

Here in Palm Beach County, his impact is likewise indelible. He owned the Sailfish Marina on Singer Island for more than 20 years, and had a controlling interest in WPEC TV-12, the CBS affiliate in West Palm Beach, as well. He helped found the Palm Beach County Cultural Council, and helped launch the Dreyfoos School of the Arts, and The Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach. He made major financial contributions to both the former Scripps Florida and the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience.

“He leaves behind a community that is more beautiful, more inspiring and more intelligent for his contributions here. He’s a great example, and he will be missed,” Griffin said.