The Mendocino College Foundation is proud to announce the creation of the Ned Walsh Memorial Scholarship for Mendocino College students enrolled in the Alcohol and Other Drug Studies (AODS) Program.

Ned worked as the Drug and Alcohol Administrator for the Mendocino County Public Health Department for 26 years, where he grew the program from a small staff of 3 to its large staff of 60 when he retired.  He was proud of his work and deeply committed to connecting with his clients and colleagues in meaningful ways. He believed in talk therapy; he really knew how to listen to others and understood the power of making people feel heard.

Ned’s daughter Sarah Walsh, a faculty member at Mendocino College explained, “My father was delighted when the AODS Program was created at Mendocino College back in the 1990. In fact, we recently found a letter he’d written to then Mendocino College President Lowery, voicing his support for the creation of the program. In the letter he states, The proposed program will serve to enhance the skills of employees in the field, will help to attract more qualified individuals to positions in the field and will help to enhance the quality of services.”

“My family knew that supporting the AODS Program at Mendocino College would be a wonderful way to honor my father’s legacy and the therapeutic work that he dedicated his life to,” stated Walsh.

Ned was born on March 31st, 1940 in Springfield, Massachusetts. He graduated from Classical High School in Springfield and went on to become the first person in his family to attend college. He completed his BS in Psychology at AIC (American International College) in Springfield, Massachusetts.

After college, he was accepted to serve in the Peace Corps. He had wanted to go to India, but instead, he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1963 during the Vietnam War. He was stationed at Fort Holabird in Baltimore, Maryland.

After his two years of service in the army, he learned about government grants being awarded to students for completing graduate level degrees in counseling. He applied and was awarded a grant to complete his MA in Rehabilitation Counseling at Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts.

In 1969, prompted by friends who said there was work in San Francisco, Ned left the East Coast and drove his Volvo across the country. He had recently watched “The Graduate”, and imagined himself driving across the Bay Bridge, though in the correct direction, unlike Dustin Hoffman in the film.

He often recalled San Francisco in those days as “feeling like a foreign country,” but was always very clear that he was not a hippie because “he always had a job.”

Ned and his beloved wife Suzanne (Suzy) met in San Francisco. In 1979, they decided to move to the country to raise their young family. They had discovered Ukiah on camping trips out on Pine Ridge Road in the late 60’s and moved to Ukiah when a job became available at the Department of Public Health.

“My father loved Ukiah and Mendocino County. He loved the land and the people. We are happy that this scholarship will support deserving students along their educational path, and help to train future professionals to address addiction and support recovery and prevention efforts in the community he loved.”

To donate to the Ned Walsh Scholarship or to learn more about the Mendocino College Foundation, please contact Katie Fairbairn, Executive Director at or call 707-468-3164.

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