Orange Coast College

A former instructor at Orange Coast College (OCC) recently made a considerable contribution of $1 million intended for the new planetarium the college is building.

Ninety-one year old retired professor Mary McChesney said in a statement while she has aged, her love for the college is very much full of life and the gift is an assurance for a stimulating future. The gift was devised as a mark of respect for her late partner, Adelyn Bonin, also a professor at the college, who passed away earlier this year.

The gift will equip OCC with a Foucault pendulum, a piece of equipment used to display the rotation of the Earth.

McChesney taught English and Spanish for 33 years before she gave up her work at the college, according to a story at She continued to be an on-going donor to the Orange Coast College Foundation and to scholarships.

Doug Bennett, executive director of the Orange Coast College Foundation, said there were conversations about McChesney’s gift but he could never have envisioned her benevolence.

According to Bennett, the inclusive budget is roughly $20 million with the greater part of the funding issued from a 2012 bond measure and contributions of $2.6 million including McChesney’s.

Orange Coast College laid the foundation for the new planetarium last year with the intent to launch the planetarium before the 2018 fall semester. The new facility will entail a 129-seat auditorium compared to the 35 seats available in the old planetarium and an exhibit hall that highlights a sphere display globe.

The new planetarium will be available to not only OCC students but to students in kindergarten through high school as well as community residents.

Orange Coast College, which was founded in 1947, currently provides 24,000 undergraduate students with two year associate of art and science degrees and certificates of achievements in the trades, licenses trades and skilled professions.

The 164 acre campus of Orange Coast College is situated in Costa Mesa, California. Orange Coast College ranks first of Orange County’s community college in the number of students it transfers to the University of California and California State University.