August 29, 2017 · School

Orange Coast College is one of the top community colleges in Costa Mesa. Founded in 1948, the community college enrolls approximately 24,000 students annually. The college sits on 164-acres of suburban land, offering students access to quality, affordable learning at a great facility in a prime location.


The college recently received an unexpected gift in the sum of $1 million from 91-year old Mary McChesney. A retired OCC teacher, McChesney made this generous donation to elaborate funding of the planetarium, a project currently under construction at the school. The construction for the new and improved facility (which will serve the needs of students attending OCC, but also students from kindergarten -12th grade as well) began in 2016 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2018. The new facility boasts many state-of-the art technologies and a larger auditorium and seating area. The exact use of the money is funding of a Foucault pendulum. This device will be the first and only in Orange County, and is used to demonstrate the rotation of the Earth.


Before retiring in 1983, McChesney taught students in English and Spanish for over 33 years. She held a deep passion for her students education and helping them achieve the success they were after. Although she’s retired and went on to live a fulfilling life, McChesney says the college has always remained near and dear to her heart. McChesney made the donation in honor of her late husband, Alvin, who passed away in January.


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