OCC receives record donation amount

Orange Coast College this summer received its largest cash donation for scholarships — $206,000 — which will create about $10,000 in new scholarships each year, an official said.

The Costa Mesa-based school received the six-figure donation from an anonymous donor on June 30. The donor specified that the money be used to support two established scholarships funds.

"In these very tough economic times, this $206,000 allocation to scholarships will be tremendously helpful to students," said Jeffrey Hobbs, OCC's director of communications and marketing.

The donor, identified only as a long-time supporter of the college, stipulated that the money fund the Basil Peterson Scholarship, which is open to anyone, and the Cy Rockey Scholarship, which is awarded to architectural technology majors.

"It basically means we'll be able to provide about $10,000 a year in more scholarships forever off the interest and dividends that we'll get from the investments of the scholarship," said Foundation Director Doug Bennett.

The donation will fund up to 10 new scholarships a year — six $1,000 scholarships in Peterson's name and four $1,000 scholarships in Rockey's name.

The scholarships will help a good number of students continue with school, Hobbs said, adding that even a small scholarship can make the difference between staying in school and dropping out.

"It keeps them in school and allows them to maintain their focus," Hobbs said. "It's a tremendous gift. It really is."

Peterson was OCC's founding president. In 1948, he opened the campus' doors to 533 students who showed up to learn at what was formerly the abandoned Santa Ana Army Air Base. He served for 17 years.

Rockey was a founding teacher, who taught drafting and machine shop until 1966.

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