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Bob and Mike Pollock's $1.2 Million Makes a Creative Impact
04/21/2017

Pollock Legacy Endowment Is a Game Changer for Creative Arts 

 
The screenwriting team of Robert Mason “Bob” Pollock and wife Eileen “Mike” Pollock left their mark on College of the Desert in a big way in 1999 when the couple created the Pollock Endowment for the Creative Arts with a $100,000 gift and an estate gift of $1.1 million in 2016.
 
In recognition of this generous donation, Theatre One – the name of the campus theater at the time – was renamed in their honor, on Oct. 22, 1999, as Pollock Theatre. 
 
“The Pollock Theatre is a very vibrant and rich piece of the fabric of our college and the cultural center of our campus,“ said Dr. Kelly Hall, Interim Dean of the School of Arts and Social Sciences. “It provides a fabulous opportunity for our theater students and our performing arts students to learn and work on a professional stage in a real theater.” 
 
The Pollocks – who wrote for the popular prime time soap opera, “Dynasty,” produced by Aaron Spelling and starring such Hollywood luminaries as John Forsythe, Linda Evans and Joan Collins – later launched the spin-off “The Colbys.” Earlier in their career, the couple shared writing credits on nearly 500 episodes of the daytime soap opera, “The Doctors.” In 1974, when the 1st Daytime Emmy Awards were announced, the Pollocks were nominated in the category of Best Writing for a Drama Series for their work on this series. They later wrote for the daytime soap, “General Hospital.” 
 
 
Robert passed away on July 11, 2016 at the age of 99. “Mike” died Dec. 5, 2012. She was 86. 
 
With Bob’s passing, the Pollocks fulfilled their commitments to the College – a bequest of $1.1 million, their white baby grand piano, five bronze sculptures from renowned artist Colin Webster Watson and the on-going residuals from “Dynasty” and the “The Colbys.” 
 
Their generous gift allows the College to address a number of creative and performing arts program priorities. This year a re-dedication ceremony honoring the Pollock Legacy will be held at the annual COD State of the College address. 
 
“Bob and Mike Pollock’s legacy will be held in the hearts of our students on the stage of the Pollock Theatre, by the student recipients of the Pollock Scholarship and will be valued by the college and theater community for generations to come,” said Peter Sturgeon, COD Foundation Interim Executive Director. 
“The Pollocks were exceedingly generous to us – and dear, dear friends,” Sturgeon said. 
 
Robert served in World War II as Gen. Dwight Eisenhower’s chief of public radio relations and returned to the U.S. to become an actor. 
 
Around the same time, Eileen, a young radio actress left her career in Hollywood after World War II and headed to New York and “big time” radio. 
 
The two met in New York while working on an ABC radio drama, “My True Story.” They fell in love and married seven months later. Robert nicknamed his bride, “Mike,” because they met across a microphone. They were married 65 years, until Mike’s death in 2012.
 
Philanthropist Peggy Cravens hosted the couple’s 50th wedding anniversary at her Rancho Mirage home. Peggy, who with late husband Donald Cravens gifted $3.5 million to College of the Desert for the Donald and Peggy Cravens Student Services Center – the state-of-the-art facility opened in 2010 – said the Pollocks were similarly focused on the educational well-being of the valley.
 
“They, too, were very interested in education and they felt that as many people as possible, here in the desert should have the opportunity to go to College of the Desert,” she said.
 
Early on, the couples came to the same conclusion: Big colleges get tons of endowments. It’s the local, community college – the institution that educates and trains the next generation of the valley’s professional workforce – that is most in need of funds to expand the opportunities for Coachella Valley students.
 
“Especially now, the College is on a wonderful uphill run … the theater is going to be very important to students in the fine arts department,” she said.