April 24, 2017
Las Positas College Foundation Announces Largest Bequest in College History at ‘Best of the Best’ Gala Event
Philanthropic Educators Drs. Barbara and David Mertes Leave Legacy Endowment to College
(Livermore, CA) - The Las Positas College (LPC) Foundation made the stunning announcement on April 22 that the late Drs. Barbara and David Mertes had bequeathed a gift of $6.85 million to the college, marking the largest donation in the college’s history. The announcement was made at the Foundation’s 14th Annual ‘Best of the Best’ gala event held at the Barbara Mertes Center for the Arts on the college campus in Livermore, before a crowd of over 150 attendees.
“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,” said LPC President Barry Russell. “This generous gift will continue to build upon their legacy of encouraging multiple avenues toward success through education,” he added.
Per the bequest agreement, the Las Positas College Foundation will manage the endowments. “This is an extraordinary gift of a size that is becoming more and more common in the community college system,” according to Kenneth Cooper, Executive Director of the Las Positas College Foundation. “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.”
Dr. David Mertes was a founding member of the LPC foundation and served on its board for 11 years following a distinguished career in the field of education. He served as Chancellor of the California Community College system from 1988 to 1996, and was the chancellor of the Los Rios Community College District, superintendent/president of Santa Barbara City College, and president of the College of San Mateo.
Dr. Barbara Fracisco Mertes had an equally illustrious career in the field of higher education with a special focus on Las Positas College, where she was a founding member who served as the District Vice-Chancellor and secured more than $100 million in competitive grants and allocations for the early growth and development of facilities and programs at Chabot and Las Positas Colleges. Upon her retirement, Dr. Mertes served on the Chabot-Las Positas Community College Board of Trustees for 14 years.
The gift will be used in part to establish the Barbara Fracisco Mertes Memorial Scholarship Endowment to support graduating LPC students who seek to transfer to a four-year institution and continue their studies in the Performing Arts.
The bequest will also establish the Barbara and David Mertes Memorial Scholarship Endowment to support graduating LPC students who transfer to a four-year institution with any major. This endowment segment also includes the development of the Charles and Margaret Fracisco Memorial Scholarship for one male and one female eligible basketball team member graduating from LPC and transferring to a four-year institution.
Tri-Valley natives Charles and Margaret Fracisco, the parents of of Dr. Barbara Fracisco Mertes, had a deep appreciation for athletics and education, and their own link to the California community college system. Both played high school basketball in this region, along with other members of their family who played for local teams, including Chabot College in Hayward.
Finally, the gift will establish the Barbara and David Mertes Memorial Scholarship Endowment (ValleyCare) to support Chabot-Las Positas Community College District students working toward an Associate of Arts degree in the allied health field.
The April 22 event, which included wine tastings and appetizers, entertainment by students in the performing arts department, and a sparkling wine and dessert reception, raised over $78,000 for the Las Positas College Foundation. Funds from last year’s ‘Best of the Best’ event supported the Math Jam program, which provides no cost tutoring to students preparing for the math placement test or math courses. A portion of the funds from this year’s ‘Best of the Best’ event will go to support the Las Positas College Performing Arts program. The event also underwrites the Foundation’s Cycle Grant program, which provides funding for innovative projects by students, staff and faculty impacting the LPC community.