News — 28 April 2017

The Barbara Fracisco Mertes Estate surprises college community with a huge contribution to Las Positas

By Ian Jones @Idjonesphotog

Jaws dropped at the Best of the Best gala on April 22 when the Las Positas College Foundation announced that Barbara Mertes and her husband had bequeathed $6.85 million to Las Positas.

Mertes is former vice-chancellor and trustee for the district. She died in 2015, and her husband, died the previous year,

“This incredible gift from two special educators who have already led the advancement of Las Positas College will make an enormous impact on deserving students,” college President Barry Russell said in a press release.

“This generous gift will continue to build upon their legacy of encouraging multiple avenues toward success toward education.”

Barbara Mertes was a founding member of the college.

Under the terms of the agreement, the Foundation will handle the endowment.

The money will be used to establish three separate endowments.

The Barbara Fracisco Mertes Memorial Scholarship Endowment will support graduating LPC students who seek to transfer to a four-year institution and continue their studies in the performing arts.

The Barbara and David Mertes Memorial Scholarship Endowment will support graduating LPC students who transfer to a four-year institution with any major.

This includes the Charles and Margaret Fracisco Memorial Scholarship for one eligible male and one female basketball team member graduating from LPC and transferring to a four-year institution.

The gift also establishes the Barbara and David Mertes Memorial Scholarship Endowment (ValleyCare) to support students who are working toward an AA degree in the allied health field.

“This is an extraordinary gift of a size that is becoming more and more common in the community college system,” said Kenneth Cooper, the Executive Director of the Las Positas College Foundation in a press release.

“It demonstrates the commitment that both Dr. Mertes had about the profound value of community college in providing a solid foundation for transfer to a four-year college and beyond. We will steward this gift with care and pride.”

In an email to the campus, sociology professor Sarah Thompson lauded the  Merteses, saying “How thoughtful and generous of them to remember us in their estate, still fighting for us in afterlife.”

Dean of Business, Health, Athletics, Work Experience and Kinesiology, Dr. Amir Law, said in an email to the campus, “Our students will benefit greatly for years to come.”

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