First Date: A Fleet Love Story


The Fleet has members throughout the United States. But Dr. Stephen Skaper and his wife, Dr. Laura Facci, are our only international members. While living in San Diego, Stephen joined the Fleet the year we opened, and over the past 45 years, he and Laura have supported us while they lived here, then in England and now in Italy, where they are semi-retired.

“In 1973, I took a position at a UCSD research lab. Laura arrived in 1983 as part of the lab’s collaboration with an Italian pharmaceutical company. Since she had never been to the United States, I thought it would be nice to show her San Diego. Our first port of call was to see an IMAX film. The Fleet became an instant favorite, and we often visited there and then had brunch or dinner in the Park.”

In 2009, they settled in Vicenza, a short walk from the church where they were married. Stephen still visits the Fleet whenever he is in town to speak at a conference. He and Laura often send postcards from their travels to places as close to their home in Italy as Romania and Athens, and as far away as China.

“Our support for the Fleet has continued all these years,” Stephen says, “simply because we believe in its mission and importance—especially to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers who have yet to realize their potential.”