Thursday, January 10, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:        January 10, 2013
FURTHER INFORMATION:           Paula Green, 626-914-8873, Stacy Armstrong, 626-857-4082

Citrus College Foundation Announces Major Gift

The Citrus College Foundation has received one of the most sizeable charitable gifts in Citrus College’s 97 year history that will further the college’s mission to advance its students’ educational goals to completion.

The gift is a bequest from the estate of Citrus College alumni, Dr. Bill May and Mrs. Betty Holt May.  Dr. May, who died in February 2008, served as California’s assistant state superintendent of public instruction.  Mrs. May was a longtime elementary school teacher for the Charter Oak and the Sacramento City school districts; she died in May 2012. 

“The Citrus College community is profoundly grateful to the May family for this enduring gift,” said Dr. Geraldine M. Perri, superintendent/president of Citrus College and executive director of the Citrus College Foundation.  “Bill and Betty May’s lifelong affinity for Citrus College will allow numerous students to achieve their educational goals, establish their careers, and build successful lives.”

The Mays attended Citrus College during the 1950s and earned reputations as student leaders and high achievers.  Dr. May, who grew up in Pasadena, was a gifted athlete and participated in student government.  Mrs. May, a Monrovia High School graduate, was a cheerleader and the college’s first elected female student body president.  

Joyce Dill, Citrus College Foundation board member, met the Mays at Citrus College and developed a lifelong friendship with the couple.  She described Mrs. May as “an intelligent girl who was fun to be around.”  Dr. May is remembered as “a good storyteller with a great sense of humor,” and as one of the college’s star athletes.

“They were a great couple who thought so much of Citrus,” Dill recalled.

After graduating from Citrus College, Dr. May received a baseball scholarship to the University of Colorado, where he earned a bachelor’s degree. He served a tour of duty in the U.S. Navy then earned a master’s degree and a doctorate from USC.  In addition to his position as assistant state superintendent of public instruction, Dr. May served as an elementary school teacher, vice-principal and principal.

Mrs. May’s education at Citrus College was placed on hold due to full-time work and family life; however, she returned to the college and earned an associate degree.  She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of La Verne and worked as an elementary school teacher.

Over time, the May’s affection for Citrus College would transcend beyond fond memories.  Both received Citrus College’s Distinguished Alumni Award, Dr. May in 1971 and Mrs. May in 1985.  It was during these years that the Mays, who lived in Sacramento, became close friends with Sharon Lewis.  It was Lewis who first urged Dr. May to donate to the Citrus College Foundation.

“Bill and Betty loved seeing students progress and would do all they could do to help them,” noted Lewis. 

In 1994, the couple established the Dr. Bill May and the Betty Holt May scholarships.  The scholarships are awarded to Citrus College students who are transferring to a four-year college or university and were involved in student life or other extracurricular activities at the college.

Dr. Patricia Rasmussen, vice president of the Citrus Community District Board of Trustees, was the college’s development officer when the Mays set up their scholarships.  She was impressed with the couple’s dedication to each other and to their alma mater.

“I was struck by not only what a loving couple the Mays were, but how much they loved Citrus College,” Rasmussen said.  “I think it’s wonderful that their spirit for the college and each other will continue forever through their scholarships.”

Not surprisingly, the recipients of the Dr. Bill May and the Betty Holt May scholarships mirror the characteristics and potential their benefactors possessed.  Cherlynn Uribe Jones, a 2012 recipient of the Dr. Bill May Scholarship, transferred to California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and is studying to become a registered dietician.  Like Betty May did years before, Cherlynn is pursuing her education while caring for her family. 

“My husband has made many sacrifices and worked many hours of overtime to help put me through school,” Cherlynn stated in her thank you letter to the Citrus College Foundation.  “You have helped make it possible for me to continue pursuing my dream."

In addition, Cherlynn shares the same passion for education as Dr. May and Betty May.  She plans to become a Certified Diabetes Educator and would like to teach a nutrition course at the college.

The May’s legacy not only equips and encourages young Citrus College alumni; it has also influenced others to follow their example as donors.  Priscilla Zepeda, a Citrus College alumna and Citrus College Foundation board member, was inspired to add “donor” to her connection with the college after hearing Mrs. May speak to the Foundation Board.

“I remember Betty telling us that when she and Bill began giving to the Foundation, they did not have extensive resources,” said Priscilla.  “However, as their resources grew, so did their involvement and support.”  As a result, Priscilla hopes to establish a scholarship for Citrus College in a few years.

“The Dr. Bill May and the Betty Holt May scholarships have made an extraordinary difference in the lives of the recipients,” said Mrs. Susan M. Keith, president of the Citrus Community College District Board of Trustees.  “I am grateful to their legacy of ensuring that students receive the support they need to continue their education.”




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:        January 10, 2013
FURTHER INFORMATION:           Paula Green, 626-914-8873, Stacy Armstrong, 626-857-4082