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Centenarian Makes $300,000 Gift to Santa Ana College

​Longtime Donor Leaves Legacy to His Alma Mater

(Santa Ana) - On Tuesday, April 16, the Santa Ana College (SAC) Foundation Board of Directors will celebrate a $300,000 legacy contribution from 101-year-old Thomas Frederic “Fred” Humiston.  Tony Sparks, the donor’s nephew, will visit the Foundation’s board meeting on Tuesday, April 16 at 7:30 a.m. in S-215 to present a symbolic check and to visit the college that his uncle so fondly remembered.

A lover of art, performing arts, and community colleges, Humiston died on June 28, 2011, leaving a substantial gift to Santa Ana College. The bulk of the bequest--$250,000—will benefit the college’s Centennial Scholarship Campaign and the remaining $50,000 will go to purchase works of student art to remain in the college’s permanent collection.

As a youngster, Humiston had moved with his family to Santa Ana where he attended elementary school and went on to Santa Ana High School. While in high school, he performed in school plays and competed as a member of the debate team. He began his higher education at Santa Ana College. He then traveled to Japan prior to World War II where he fell in love with the culture and art. In 1932, he received his B.A. from Stanford University. In 1935, Humiston accepted a position as assistant probation officer with the Santa Clara Probation Department and one year later he earned an M.A. from Stanford University.

In May 1943, he was inducted into the U.S. Army. He served in World War II and in the Korean War. During his service, he assisted with the mental welfare and placement of battle-worn troops. In 1946, he became a registered social worker; and in 1959, he earned his Ph.D. from Stanford in education.

He worked as a counselor, director of testing and research, and associate dean of guidance services at San Francisco City College (SFCC). There he met his future wife Nancy Lee Sparks, who was a physical education instructor and counselor. After their marriage in 1959, they traveled to France, Italy, Egypt, and Japan on their summer breaks. He retired from SFCC in 1975. He and Nancy continued to enjoy their world travels and loved to entertain in their beautiful home in Sausalito overlooking the San Francisco Bay. He was known for his great sense of humor and his readiness to offer a joke or a one-liner whenever appropriate. In the 1990’s, they moved to the Rossmoor Retirement Community in Walnut Creek where they enjoyed plays and concerts. His wife of 50 years, Nancy, passed away in 2009.

In 1997, Humiston established the Genevieve Humiston Memorial Scholarship in memory of his sister, a former instructor and counselor at SAC. The scholarship is awarded annually to a full-time continuing student who majored in business.

“Having graduated from the community college system himself and being a counselor at San Francisco City College, Fred truly believed in the junior college system. He felt the system gave most everyone a chance for a college education and advancement,” said Sparks. “He continued taking classes at the community college in Marin County even after he retired. He was a philanthropist, who was proud to give back to the various colleges and the arts, which he and Nancy so loved to enjoy throughout their lives.”

The Centennial Scholarship Campaign, “Supporting Access and Completion for the Next 100 Years,” is a three-year “100 for the 100th” fundraising drive. The foundation is seeking gifts at various levels, including:

  • ◦Major gifts of $100,000 or more
  • Endowed gifts of $25,000 or more
  • Invested gifts of $10,000 or more
  • Annual gifts of $1,000 or more
  • General Centennial Fund gifts at any level

“The Foundation board of directors has committed to match Centennial Scholarship Campaign gifts of $25,000 and above,” said Christina Romero, SAC Foundation director. “Consequently, Mr. Humiston’s donation will impact twice as many students. His generosity makes it possible for 20 additional students to receive a $1,000 scholarship every year.”

For more information about the Centennial Scholarship Campaign, please contact the SAC Foundation at (714) 564-6091 or foundation@sac.edu.

About the Santa Ana College Foundation
The Santa Ana College Foundation is committed to ensuring that no student is denied educational opportunities due to financial constraints. The foundation strives to maintain, expand and enhance the educational opportunities at Santa Ana College and to link community organizations, businesses, funding sources, alumni and staff preserving “A History of Success, A Future of Promise.”

About Santa Ana College
Santa Ana College (SAC), which will turn 100 years old in 2015, serves about 18,000 students each semester at its main campus in Santa Ana. The college prepares students for transfer to four-year institutions, provides invaluable workforce training, and customized training for business and industry. In addition, another 13,000 students are served through the college’s School of Continuing Education located at Centennial Education Center. Ranked as one of the nation’s top two-year colleges awarding associate degrees to Latino and Asian students, the college is also recognized throughout the state for its comprehensive workforce training programs for nurses, firefighters, law enforcement and other medical personnel. SAC is one of two comprehensive colleges under the auspices of the Rancho Santiago Community College District. Visit www.sac.edu to learn more.

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Judy Iannaccone
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iannaccone_judy@rsccd.edu