Category Archives: Education

Professor Gives Back to Orange Coast College, Helps Construct New Planetarium

After a career as an educator, retired professor Mary McChesney continues to demonstrate her love for education and an impassioned need to see others learn. McChesney, who taught English and Spanish for over three decades at Orange Coast College, donated $1 million to her former college to assist in the continued construction of an on-campus planetarium.

At 91 years of age, McChesney says that she continues to see Orange Coast College as a place she very much loves, and the construction of a new planetarium can bring more students, and the surrounding community, to have a greater appreciation for astronomy.

This donation, made in the name of her late partner and colleague, Adelyn Bonin, who served as a professor of German for the college until 1983, will go towards a Foucault pendulum. This will allow the planetarium to best articulate the rotation of Earth in demonstrations.

Doug Bennett, Orange Coast College Foundation’s Executive Director, praised McChesney’s involvement with the college over the years. As an educator, she has been a key player in the decisions of the foundation, such as the recipients of scholarships.

While Bennett knew that initiatives like the new planetarium would appeal to McChesney, he did not anticipate her generosity would be reflected in such a dollar amount.

This planetarium will be able to accommodate 129 attendants, a big upgrade from the 35-seat auditorium in the old building. When all is said and done, the $20 million facility is scheduled to be open for students and the surrounding community, namely children between kindergarten and 12th grade, by fall 2018.

About Orange Coast College:

Since 1947, Orange Coast College (OCC) has provided higher education to the Southern Californian community of Costa Mesa. With more than 130 academic programs and career concentrations, with a particular focus in Technical Education, OCC provides opportunities to more than 25,000 students each semester.

OCC has continually ranked as first in Orange County for transitioning students from its community college to University of California and California State University campuses across the state, reaching into the thousands in just the last decade.

While others seek higher education opportunities in private colleges or seek institutions across the country.