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Donorís Gift Brings Observatory to CODís Mecca/Thermal Campus

College of the Desert astronomy instructors and the college’s Astronomy Club check out the donated 1-meter telescope inside the Mary Reagan Observatory at the college’s Mecca/Thermal Campus.

Donor’s Gift Brings Observatory to COD’s Mecca/Thermal Campus

Dr. Joel L. Kinnamon, College of the Desert Superintendent / President, stands with astronomy instructors Michael Gariety and Ahmed ElShafie, and the COD Astronomy Club at the new Mary Reagan Observatory at the college’s Mecca/Thermal Campus prior to the March 9 event to celebrate the new observatory and its 1-meter telescope.

The dark skies lit up the evening of Friday, March 9, 2018 as College of the Desert students, faculty members, staff, community friends and supporters gathered to celebrate the recently donated Mary Reagan Observatory and its 1-meter (40-inch) telescope at the COD Mecca-Thermal Campus.

The Observatory, telescope and related computers and equipment were donated by Palm Desert resident Ivoj Kudrnac to benefit College of the Desert students in astronomy and other Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) disciplines for years to come.

“We are so grateful for this generous gift,”stated Joel L. Kinnamon, Ed.D., College of the Desert Superintendent/President. “All gifts big or small help our students reach for the stars.”

Since the academic year 2011-12, almost 10,000 students have enrolled in transfer level STEM math and science courses. In addition, the College plans to expand upon its interdisciplinary offerings at COD Mecca/Thermal to support innovative programs that focus on topics such as understanding the desert environment, sustainability, and renewable energy.

While the main function of the Observatory will be teaching and learning, the College also plans to extend access to K-12 and community partners through future education events.

College of the Desert Foundation Board Member Donna Jean Darby (left) attended the March 9 Observatory event emceed by Karen Tabor, Dean of the School of Mathematics and Sciences at College of the Desert.

Seen in the crowd of over 130 attendees were College of the Desert Foundation Board members Donna Jean Darby and Marge Dodge as well as COD Trustees Board Chair Becky Broughton and Trustee Bonnie Stefan with Superintendent/President Dr. Joel L. Kinnamon and Dr. John Mosser, COD Foundation Executive Director.

Also spotted were Riverside County Supervisor V. Manuel Perez, city of Palm Desert Councilmember Jan Harnik and Cathedral City Councilmember Shelley Kaplan.

Next up for COD Foundation: Stepping Out for COD, Wednesday, April 3, 2016 at 8 pm as the Emmy Awardwinning actor-singer Lucie Arnaz brings her solo show Latin Roots to the McCallum Theatre to benefit College of the Desert.