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Stan Clothier’s Wisdom on Longevity and Success

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The evening at the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego was an extraordinary convergence of science, art, and the wisdom of lived experience.

The spotlight was on Stan Clothier, a 103-year-old visionary, entrepreneur, and WWII veteran, whose insights into longevity and success captivated the audience.

Alongside him, esteemed scientists Rob Signer and Sherry Gert Cohen shared groundbreaking research on stem cells and aging, while artist Amy Berkman offered a moving testimony of resilience and passion.

Stan Clothier: A Century of Insight and Innovation

Stan Clothier, born in 1921 in Montana, has led an illustrious life filled with achievements that range from pioneering technology during WWII to founding successful companies in Minneapolis. His contributions to the early drone program and his innovative ventures in electronics and data systems have made him a figure of admiration and inspiration.

Stan’s reflections on his daily motivations and secrets to longevity resonated deeply. His zest for life, embodied by his love for golf and the fun he finds in everyday activities, underscores a simple yet profound philosophy: stay active and find joy in what you do. According to Stan, the secret to a long life boils down to “choosing your parents carefully” and “keeping breathing,” highlighting both the genetic factors and the importance of maintaining one’s health and spirit.

Rob Signer: Stem Cells and the Future of Aging Research

Rob Signer, the Deputy Director of the Sanford Stem Cell Discovery Center, presented a compelling narrative on how stem cells are key to understanding and combating the aging process. His personal drive, rooted in the loss of his father to cancer, fuels his quest to unravel the mysteries of stem cells and their role in disease and longevity.

Signer’s research emphasizes that aging is the primary risk factor for numerous diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease. By focusing on the fundamental processes of aging, rather than individual diseases, Signer believes we can make significant strides in improving health spans. His lab’s discoveries about the stress responses of blood-forming stem cells and their ability to maintain regenerative potential offer hope for innovative treatments that could mitigate the impacts of aging.

Sherry Gert Cohen: The Regenerative Potential of Stem Cells

Sherry Gert Cohen, an Assistant Professor at the Sanford Stem Cell Institute, explored the regenerative capabilities of stem cells, particularly in the context of skin and hair follicles. Her research delves into the critical role of the lymphatic vascular system in maintaining stem cell health and regenerative function.

Cohen’s findings suggest that the decline in the lymphatic system’s efficiency is a significant factor in aging. By restoring or mimicking the youthful environment of stem cells, it might be possible to rejuvenate tissues and slow down the aging process. Her work underscores the interconnectedness of systemic health and stem cell function, pointing to new avenues for anti-aging therapies.

Amy Berkman: Art, Resilience, and the Pursuit of Happiness

Amy Berkman, a performance artist and cancer survivor, shared her journey of overcoming adversity through art. Diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of ovarian cancer, Berkman transformed her struggle into a mission to bring joy and support to others through her artistic talents.

Berkman’s story is a testament to the power of passion and resilience. Her work, which has raised millions for charity, embodies the spirit of giving and the healing power of creativity. Her message to the audience was clear: pursuing what you love and helping others are vital components of a fulfilling and healthy life.


The evening was a celebration of life, science, and art, bringing together diverse perspectives on how to live long and prosper. Stan Clothier’s humor and wisdom, combined with the cutting-edge research of Rob Signer and Sherry Gert Cohen, provided a holistic view of longevity that integrates both scientific advancements and the human spirit. Amy Berkman’s inspiring journey added a poignant reminder of the resilience and joy that can be found even in the face of life’s greatest challenges.

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