Mourning, who grew up in Arkansas and studied law in Denver, was a very special addition to the SETI Institute’s Board of Trustees when he joined in the late 1990s. He didn’t come from a background in science and technology, but from fund raising: Mourning had been Vice President of Development for the Palo Alto Medical Foundation.
This expertise in finding private monies for the Institute’s research was very important once the organization’s SETI efforts were no longer supported by NASA. His knowledge of development was leaned on heavily by management as it ramped up the solicitation of donor funding.
Steve Mourning unexpectedly died in 2010, after he had left California to return to his native Arkansas.