In 1924, the Laboratory—then known as the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences Biological Laboratory—was in danger of closing its doors mostly for financial reasons, a group of scientists and prominent local citizens banded together to save the Laboratory. They called themselves the Long Island Biological Association (LIBA). LIBA members succeeded in raising the necessary funds to continue the Lab’s operation and assumed administrative responsibility for the fledgling research institution. They worked hand-in-hand with the nearby Carnegie Institution and saw the two organizations through their subsequent merger to become the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory of Quantitative Biology. LIBA’s unparalleled support has continued over the decades and eventually changed its name to become the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Association, a.k.a. The Association.
In a 1958 Association report, the executive board pointed out that “contact between Lab staff and local residents…has more than local significance: for among the residents of this region are many national leaders in industry, finance and politics.” The report went on to suggest that “scientists connected with the Laboratory have an unusual opportunity to maintain and strengthen these ties with residents of the locality and thus stimulate wider interest in science and science research. These words still hold true today. For this reason the Lab community continues to embrace the opportunity to interact personally and professionally with the people whose dedication and financial support have nurtured the Laboratory’s growth into a thriving world-class research and educational institution.