On Tuesday, December 8 during their bi-monthly board meeting the Mendocino College Foundation Board approved the creation of the Robert (Bob) and Marlys Blanc perpetual scholarship.
Bob served on the Foundation Board in the mid-90s and was instrumental in preparing Mendocino College for the future. He and fellow board members dreamed of obtaining the 400 acres west of the campus in Ukiah commonly known as the Evans property. “We tried off and on over 20 years to obtain the property because we knew how important it would be for the growth and long term future expansion of Mendocino College,” stated Blanc.
Blanc and the Foundation Board never lost sight of the importance of obtaining those acres. As fortune would have it, the Foundation was given the opportunity to purchase the highly sought after Evans property in June of 2013. According to Tom Herman, Land Committee Chair for the Foundation, “Bob Blanc was with us every step of the way throughout the purchase process and was just as excited about the future and possibilities as he had been twenty-some years ago. His excitement and enthusiasm was infectious, and when the full board was asked to expend the funds for the purchase, the decision was a resounding yes.”
The Blanc’s purchased a vineyard in Redwood Valley in 1973 and moved to the area full time in 1985. They have been avid supporters of the Foundation’s Adopt A Fifth Grader program, volunteered as board members and have participated in a myriad of programs and events over the years. They met during high school at San Bernardino High and have supported each other every step of the way throughout their 63 year marriage. They are both graduates of San Bernardino Valley College and the U.C. system and passionately support community college.
After completing a Bachelor’s degree in geology at UCLA, Blanc obtained a commission in the U.S. Naval Reserve and was deployed to Korea aboard the USS Devastator. Discharged after four years he returned to UCLA to obtain a Master’s degree. Along the way he encouraged his wife to complete her Bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley where she was the 3rd generation in her family to attend and graduate from the prestigious university.
The Blanc’s are the proud parents of three children, eight grandchildren and six great grandchildren. All three of their children graduated from Cal Poly, and there was never any doubt that they would attend college.
“Bob and Marlys believe that there is a fundamental human need to be a part of and make a difference in their community. They each have reflected on how much receiving a college education has been part of their lives and success, and they wanted to give back in a very direct and personal way,” stated Katie Fairbairn, executive director.
For more information about the Mendocino College Foundation or to donate towards any of their programs, call 707-467-1018.