Since announcing the renovation of their campus planetarium to better accommodate their expanding student body and the growing community, Orange Coast College has been receiving donations from former students and faculty. But it’s former professor Mary McChesney that’s getting quite a bit of attention for a sizeable donation that stands as another selfless gesture in a decades-long career in education.
McChesney has been retired since 1983 but that hasn’t limited her involvement with the college by much. This 91-year-old has remained active with the Orange Coast College Foundation, putting her years of experience as an educator to better administer funds for scholarships to students coming to the college for first-time and those returning. That McChesney would also donate $1 million to the college struck many as unexpectedly generous, but Executive Director of the foundation Doug Bennett has said that this is very much in keeping with McChesney’s character, a woman who spent decades as an educator and had an equally long career as a member of the college’s foundation, preparing it to meet the changes in education.
The donation was made in honor of Adelyn Bonin, a fellow language professor and McChesney’s late partner. McChesney has stated that she hopes the donation gives students an opportunity to explore astronomy as a field of study and consider its offerings as an academic path for them to follow. This contribution will help make that a possibility by completing the construction of a Foucault pendulum, allowing for demonstrations of earth’s natural rotation.
The existing auditorium will be expanded to accommodate 129 guests at any given time, allowing Orange Coast College to provide more functions to students but also make the space available to the Costa Mesa community and its primary and secondary schools. Orange Coast College expects to open its planetarium in the fall semester of 2018.
About Orange Coast College:
Orange Coast College has been part of Orange County’s large community of higher education institutions since 1947. For more than 70 years tens of thousands from the Costa Mesa area have taken advantage of more than 135 academic programs provided by the college each semester.
With such a large student body, Orange Coast College has made it a priority to focus on the technological developments of the modern economy so students enter the real world better prepared to face dynamic challenges. This has helped Orange Coast College to remain first in Orange County when it comes to placing students in California State University and University of California colleges.