NORWALK, Calif. – A late Cerritos College alumnus left the school $2.3 million from his estate - the largest financial donation the college has ever received.
And all of it is to go to the woodworking program.
“We are truly humbled and inspired by Mr. Smith and his family’s generosity,” said Dr. Jose Fierro, president/superintendent, Cerritos College. “Mr. Smith’s gift will help students attain advanced skills in woodworking and master the artistry of woodcrafts for many years to come.”
John B. Smith established a trust to create a woodworking scholarship fund at Cerritos College following his and his mother’s death. Born in Texas, Smith worked as an engineering draftsman in the aerospace industry for ten years. He took woodworking courses at Cerritos College in the 1990s before moving to Paso Robles, California, where he lived at the time of his passing.
Cerritos officials don't know much else about the man. They were informed of his 2015 death upon his mother's recent passing.
Smith also donated his woodworking equipment, which includes a drill press and bandsaw.
Cerritos is among California’s 106 community colleges. The school lives in a region a where more than 60 percent of the student body lives at or below the poverty line. 70 percent of students attend part-time, mainly because they need to hold down jobs, writes the LA Times.
Cerritos' woodworking program offers more than 40 classes in faceframe and frameless cabinet construction, CNC woodworking, architectural millwork, table and casegood construction, hand tools, woodturning, and veneering. Instructors work out of a 27,000 square-foot facility, which houses more than a hundred stationary and portable woodworking machines are available.
Cerritos will establish the John B. Smith Scholarship Fund to benefit students enrolled in woodworking courses at Cerritos College. Scholarships will be available starting later this year.
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