Professor emerita and alumna Elaine Marieb, '80, has issued a $1 million challenge to Holyoke Community College.
If 1,000 donors come forward to contribute gifts of any amount toward the HCC Foundation's Building Healthy Communities Campaign by December 31, Marieb will donate $1 million toward the campaign.
The announcement of "Mission: Marieb," as the challenge is being called, was made today at the monthly meeting of HCC's Board of Trustees.
"It's an incredible gift by an incredible donor," said Erica Broman, HCC's vice president of Institutional Development. "It exemplifies how strongly she feels about getting as many donors as possible to contribute to the campaign and how strongly she feels about the college and its mission."
The Building Healthy Communities Campaign was initiated to raise money to support two building projects: the new Center for Health Education on Jarvis Avenue, future home of HCC's nursing and radiologic technology programs; and the Center for Life Sciences, which will be located on the first floor of the school's main science building, the Marieb Building -- named for Elaine Marieb, one of the school's most significant benefactors.
"The students of today are the leaders of tomorrow," said Marieb, who lives in Sarasota, Florida. "I loved working with the students at HCC and want to give them the best possible tools to become those leaders. I thought this gift would help encourage the broadest possible participation by HCC's family and friends and equip up-and-coming students with what they need to succeed."
Marieb joined the HCC faculty after earning a bachelor of science, a master's degree in biology and a PHD in zoology. She taught anatomy and physiology at HCC for more than 25 years, retiring in 1995. She is also the author of more than a dozen textbooks on anatomy and physiology, many of them international best-sellers. To inform her work, as both a teacher and writer, she entered the HCC nursing program and earned her associate degree here while she was also a member of the faculty and later went on to earn additional degrees in nursing and gerontology.
Broman said Marieb's gift will be HCC's second million-dollar donation. The first was from Yankee Candle Company founder and HCC alum Michael Kittredge, who gave $1 million to support the construction of the school's business building,now called the Kittredge Center.
"Two million-dollar gifts is pretty substantial for a community college," she said.
Donors can make contributions to the Building Healthy Communities Campaign online at www.hcc.edu/donate or by sending checks to the HCC Foundation at 303 Homestead Ave., Holyoke, MA, 01040.
Photos: (Left) The HCC Board of Trustees donned sunglasses after a presentation announcing Elaine Marieb's $1 million challenge. (Right) HCC trustee Yolanda Johnson applauds the announcement of Elaine Marieb's $1 million challenge gift.