Pasadena City College snares a $4 million gift

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It’s been quite a season for major gifts to Southland colleges. UCLA and USC have reaped millions of dollars from alumni and trustees this year. Pasadena City College has joined that list.

As the state has cut its budget for public higher education, community colleges have really felt the effects — just as larger numbers of people seek to boost their job skills or take low-cost courses before they transfer to four-year schools.

That’s one reason Pasadena City College welcomes a $4 million gift from the Westerbeck Family Foundation. A spokeswoman for the college says the donation could pay full tuition for more than 200 students a year.

The givers, both deceased, are aerospace engineer Robert Westerbeck, class of 1936, and his wife Adrienne, who taught piano and organ at the school for many years.

Their bequest is the largest single gift in the college’s history and perhaps one of the largest-ever donations to a community college.

Southern California Public Radio maintains historic ties to Pasadena City College — it's the "PCC" in "KPCC" — but does not benefit from the Westerbecks’ gift. That's designated for scholarships.