It’s not luck associated with planets in correct alignment, but a new planetarium just received a gift of intergalactic proportions. Orange Coast College retired professor Mary McChesney has donated $1 million dollars to the Orange County planetarium currently under construction.
Officials at OCC say the gift will be used for the purchase of a Foucault Pendulum, which is a measuring device for the earth’s rotation and the only pendulum of its kind in the county.
The new planetarium will be a major center of study for both OCC students as well as the surrounding community, according to a statement by McChesney. She decided to make the donation in memory of her partner Adelyn Bonin who passed away in January of this year.
McChesney, also said Adelyn Bonin would have been elated with this donation because it is half hers. McChesney also would like to think her partner is watching what’s going on and would very much approve.
Bonin taught German at OCC, while McChesney was an English and Spanish Professor at OCC for 33 years until her retirement. Both retired from the college in 1983. Learn more about Orange Coast College: http://www.orangecoastcollege.edu/Pages/home.aspx and http://www.orangecoastcollege.edu/academics/class_schedule/Pages/default.aspx
Although McChesney says she’s grown old physically, her love for Costa Mesa College is vibrant and very much alive, because the promise for an exciting future lies within the institution.
Doug Bennett, the Executive Director of the Orange Coast College Foundation said that McChesney has been an ongoing contributor to the Foundation and scholarships. He added that he heard Mary was considering a donation, but had no idea she would donate at such a generous level.
The donation is timely because there have been so many technology changes in planetariums in recent years, the need for a new facility was necessary. The existing planetarium built in the 1950’s was torn down in 2016 to make way for the new building, which will include a 129 seat auditorium along with an exhibit hall.
Orange Coast College is a 164 acre campus in Costa Mesa minutes away from Southern California beaches. Founded in 1947, OCC offers 135 academic and career programs, and its enrollment of 25,000 students ranks first in Orange County community colleges in the number of transfers to The University of California and California State University systems.