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Ex-Dean Donates $1 Million to Ventura College

February 18, 1988

A retired Ventura College dean of students has given the school a gift expected to total more than $1 million, the largest donation in the school's 63-year history, college officials said.

The donation to the Ventura College Foundation by Mary Guthrie, 81, a history instructor and counselor at the college before her appointment as dean, may be the largest received by any two-year college, Ventura College President Robert Long said.

The gift was announced at a Tuesday meeting of the Ventura County Community College District Board of Trustees.

The college has already received $100,000 from Guthrie to begin construction of a tutoring and testing center. In addition, annual contributions of $75,000 and the bulk of Guthrie's estate upon her death will probably add more than $1 million to college coffers, Long said Tuesday.

"Too many young people can't move up in life because they lack an education," Guthrie said in a statement issued by the college. "I'd like to change that."

The college will immediately begin planning for the tutoring and testing facility, Long said. "Without this gift, the project might have been delayed another 18 months. Now we may be able to open by June of 1989."

The 4,000-square-foot facility, to be named Guthrie Hall, will cost $400,000.

The transfer-student scholarships funded by Guthrie will assist recipients of associate degrees in completing bachelor's degree programs and graduate teacher training.

Guthrie's gifts will triple the money raised by the Ventura College Foundation since its inception in 1985, Long said.

Guthrie lived in Ventura County for 27 years, teaching junior high and high school courses in Simi Valley and Ventura before joining the faculty of Ventura College. She retired in 1967.

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