The late David and Barbara Mertes did just that in their will, leaving $6.85 million to Las Positas College Foundation in Livermore. Barbara served as the founding dean of what was then the Livermore campus for Chabot College in Hayward. She spent most of her career at Las Positas and the college district office. Both she and David held doctorates.
David had an equally distinguished career, serving as state chancellor of the community colleges, as well as chancellor of a district and president/superintendent of two other colleges. Throughout their marriage, Barbara lived in her native Livermore, while David came home on weekends while he was working out-of-town. After Barbara retired, she served on the community college board for 14 years.
After he retired from the state chancellorship, David was a founding member of the Las Positas foundation and served on the board for 11 years.
They were deeply invested in time and treasure in the college and in the valley. David had a particular interest in health care and engineered several medical projects in foreign countries in partnership with the Livermore Rotary and ValleyCare Health System.
The carefully thought-out gift to the foundation is an endowment to support scholarships tailored to areas that the Mertes’ were passionate about. The investment earnings from the gift will go to:
• A scholarship for students who want to continue their studies at a four-year institution in the arts. Barbara wrote and directed plays and established a strong arts program at Las Positas. She loved the arts.
• A memorial scholarship fund that will support graduating Las Positas students moving on to a four-year college. It includes scholarships for one male and one female basketball player in memory of the Charles and Margaret Fracisco (Barbara’s parents who both played high school basketball).
• A scholarship that will support Chabot or Las Positas students working on an associate’s degree in a health care field. Both David and Barbara served on the ValleyCare Hospital board
It is fitting that the performing arts center at the college bears Barbara’s name and she was celebrated for that while she could enjoy it. The memorial service celebrating her life took place there.
They have gone home to their eternal reward and their legacy will live on through the students their gift will support.