Maggie Randolph: Vote 'yes' on Prop. 30 for Merced College

October 9, 2012 

These are special times for the people of Merced. Once again it is time to make the right choice.

Fifty years ago the people of Merced were asked if they would support a Community College here in Merced. It was passed by the voters in March 1962. What a great choice that was.

Merced High School Superintendent Clair Hopkins asked Dr. Lowell Barker, then-president of Antelope Valley College, to be our founding president, and with five trustees -- John Hann, Buddy Iwata, Donald Robinson, Byron Cunningham and George Clark -- the district was formed.

They got busy right away. In the fall of '62, classes were held at Merced Fairgrounds with a full curriculum.

State funding along with the local tax base gave financial backing to hire Henry Dupertuis as architect. A gift of 140 acres of land was received. Buildings sprung up, land was set aside for agricultural programs and landscaping was used to create a parklike setting for the campus.

A group led by Tom McNamara gathered financing for the stadium. Congressman Tony Coelho encouraged the National Handicap Society to contribute $700,000. Some years later, a 100-acre farm was given for the agricultural program.

A gift from Richard Menezes of 10 acres for the Los Banos Center helped to get that under way, and later, the Anderson family donated 120 acres for the beautiful new campus.

Year by year, Merced College has grown and is now one of California's most recognized community colleges for its many quality programs.

We have come a long, long way in 50 years and have served many.

The communities of Merced and Los Banos have grown and been enriched culturally and financially. Merced College was one of the major attractions for the University of Merced.

Once more there is a crucial time for your special treasure and once again we need to "step up to the plate," as we would do for a member of our family when our help is needed. You can make the next 50 years a success for your college. Vote "yes" on Proposition 30.

Randolph served on the Merced College Board of Trustees for 20 years before retiring. She owns Margaret M. Randolph Sales, a marketing company based in Merced.

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