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Couple donates $1.5M to college

September 22, 2017
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Muskegon Community College Carolyn I. and Peter Sturrus Technology Center
The 85,000-square-foot Carolyn I. and Peter Sturrus Technology Center is located in downtown Muskegon. Courtesy MCC

A West Michigan college will name its technology center after a couple who donated $1.5 million to the school.

Muskegon Community College’s new Downtown Center will be called the Carolyn I. and Peter Sturrus Technology Center after the couple from Muskegon donated a record $1.5-million gift to fund the in-progress building and the technology programs it will run.

The $14.2-million Downtown Center houses MCC’s applied technology programs in CAD/CNC, electronics and automation, welding, machining, materials testing, foundry, engineering and alternative energy.

The 85,000-square-foot center also contains the Rooks Sarnicola Entrepreneur Institute, with its Ann and Richard Kraft Rapid Prototype Center, Lakeshore Fab Lab, MCC Bookstore and Best Financial Credit Union. MCC’s experiential learning classroom is also inside the center.

The center opened this semester for some of its academic offerings and will be fully operational in January.

Peter Sturrus, a former long-time president of Shape Corp. in Grand Haven and former MCC student, said one reason for the couple’s donation is their “love of Muskegon and love of Muskegon Community College.”

“The main reason I did this was to honor my wife, Carolyn Iversen Sturrus,” Peter Sturrus said. “She served as assistant to the president of MCC for over 30 years, beginning right out of high school.”

Carolyn Sturrus began working at MCC, then known as Muskegon Junior College, in 1951. During her career, she assisted seven MCC directors/presidents before her retirement in 1986.

Peter Sturrus said she was instrumental in establishing the MCC Alumni Association, Reflections magazine and the Foundation for Muskegon Community College.

The Sturrus’ donation represents the largest individual gift to MCC in its history by more than $1 million.

“It is extremely gratifying that Peter and Carolyn I. Sturrus believed in Muskegon Community College enough to support the institution at this level,” MCC President Dale Nesbary said. “It will transform the way we serve our students, build our community and improve the lives of those close to the college.”

Donald Crandall, MCC Board of Trustees chair, echoed Nesbary’s gratitude.

“The generous gift from Peter and Carolyn Sturrus will allow Muskegon Community College to complete our new Downtown Center and provide state-of-the-art training to create the future high-tech employees of the region, to stimulate business growth in western Michigan and to contribute to the rebuilding of downtown Muskegon,” Crandall said.

Amy Swope, director of the Foundation for Muskegon Community College, said public and private financial support for the MCC facility has been exceptional.

“Thanks to the voters in Muskegon County, federal and state funds, and donations from organizations and individuals, we’ve raised almost $2.3 million for this project,” she said.

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