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Scholarships are awarded annually. Applications are accepted from December thru March  for scholarships in the upcoming academic year. In 2019, 149 students were awarded Mendocino College scholarships and book vouchers totaling $185,000. 

Recent NEWS

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Mendocino College Announces Perpetual Scholarship to Honor “The Godfather of Grape Growing”

Mendocino College Announces Perpetual Scholarship to Honor “The Godfather of Grape Growing”

Ukiah…  The Mendocino College Foundation is honored to announce the creation of the Charlie Barra Perpetual Scholarship for a Mendocino College student who graduates from Ukiah High School and is an agriculture major at Mendocino College.

Barra is often referred to as Mendocino County’s “godfather of grape growing”. Charles L. Barra, was born in 1926, Calpella, California, to first-generation Italian immigrants Antonio Barra and Maria Rovera Barra.

His career in farming and grape growing would span over 70 years, and he never missed a grape harvest.   He was a passionate advocate for Mendocino County, the California North Coast Grape Growers Association, and spent more than 20 years in public service.

He was a founding member and president of the California North Coast Grape Growers Alliance, and was instrumental in lobbying for a variety of grower causes, including varietal percentage change in wines from 51% to 75%, the first appellation designation in the United States and for pricing regulations that said a grower and winery had to agree on prices before grapes were crushed. 

Charlie’s commitment and devotion to his community went beyond just agriculture. From the early 60’s to the late 70’s, he was involved in a variety of public service positions including being an active member of the Mendocino County Planning Commission, as well as being appointed to the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors by then-Governor Ronald Reagan. The results of his work to create the St. Mary’s School Foundation, and his 21-year tenure as president are still visible today.

Barra was well-known for his quick wit, twinkling eyes and impish grin.  This perpetual scholarship will honor his legacy by providing an annual $1,000 scholarship in perpetuity to an agriculture major at Mendocino College.

For more information about the scholarship program at Mendocino College, please contact Eliza Fields at 707-467-1018.

“Walsh Family Establishes the Ned Walsh Memorial AODS Program Scholarship”

“Walsh Family Establishes the Ned Walsh Memorial AODS Program Scholarship”

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.

“100% NCLEX Pass Rate for Mendocino College Nursing Students” Beltrami’s NCLEX Gift Program Going Strong Eight Years Later

“100% NCLEX Pass Rate for Mendocino College Nursing Students” Beltrami’s NCLEX Gift Program Going Strong Eight Years Later

Ukiah… The Mendocino College Nursing Program is excited to announce that all 23 nursing candidates in the 2020 graduating class have passed their NCLEX State Board Examinations.

The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) is a required exam that measures the competencies needed to perform safely and effectively as an entry-level nurse and must be passed before a nurse receives their licensing. 

Over the last 11 years, graduates in the college’s nursing program have achieved a 100% pass rate in 8 of those years.  This is a huge accomplishment because the statewide average for the NCLEX is approximately 85%.  The Mendocino College Nursing Program is truly one of the best programs in the State of California.

This is due to the dedication of students, faculty and staff.  The nursing faculty and staff get to know each and every student over the span of the two-year program.  “We are a family, and we care for each other like a family- our individual successes often translate to the group’s success,” stated Heidi Crean, Professor.

“I am so proud of the nursing graduates from Mendocino College. They have been learning state of the art nursing skills and evidence based practices from our extraordinary faculty in the classroom, and online to meet the demands of Covid-19, in the sim lab and in the clinical setting. We are especially proud to say that the majority of our students have stayed local and are employed by the hospitals, dialysis units and private practice offices,” stated Peggy Goebel, Dean/Director of the Nursing Program.

For the past eight years’, the Mendocino College Foundation has coordinated an annual NCLEX fundraising event for the program.  “In early 2012, I had my annual meeting with Foundation Director, Al Beltrami to discuss his gift to the Mendocino College Foundation.  I had met with then Nursing Director Barbara French to ask what nursing students needed help with- her response was simple, they needed money to pay for their NCLEX state boards, she stated.  We created a basic chart, calculated how many students with the fee’s and I had my pitch for Beltrami.  When I met with Al, who was one of the most generous and funny human beings I have ever met; I relayed the information and I suggested a surprise element to his gift.  I asked him to attend the nursing graduation and present each graduate with a check to fund their NCLEX and it would be a surprise only a few of us would know about.  He loved the idea, and on May 12, 2012, during the beautiful graduation ceremony, Al Beltrami was called to the stage and Director French announced his gift, that eighteen graduates were receiving a check to pay for their NCLEX state exam fees. There was a hush or silence that fell across the room then the tears began.  Students, family and staff all became misty eyed.  It was one of the most special moments in my life.” Stated Katie Fairbairn, Executive Director.

Eight years later, Beltrami’s gift is still going strong- every year the Mendocino College Foundation asks the community to support the NCLEX and each year they graciously give to ensure that our nurses take and pass their NCLEX as quickly as possible.  It is estimated that over 140 students have received their NCLEX state board fee’s which has ensured their careers in the nursing profession.

We would especially like to thank Mr. Al Beltrami in memoriam for starting this wonderful program and Dr. Barbara French (retired nursing director), and to the 2020 donors:  Pacific Redwood Medical Group, Tom Dow, Stuart Campbell, Ilene Weeks, John & Nancy Buechsenstein, Patrick Taylor, Robert Becker and our anonymous donors.

According to Fairbairn, “you often don’t know how well something will turn out in the beginning, here we are eight years later and Al’s program continues.  The only thing missing are my annual meetings with him at the Ukiah Garden Café in the Al Beltrami booth. I am grateful to have known Al Beltrami and especially thankful that his gift took root and will continue for years to come.”

For more information about the Mendocino College Foundation or to donate towards any of their programs, please contact Katie Fairbairn, Executive Director at or call 707-468-3164.

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