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Long-time Merced College Faculty Members Establish Scholarship Endowment

Ted McVeyNovember 27, 2006

Ted McVey’s memory reaches back some 40 years to the very beginnings of Merced College. The first instructors, administrators—he knew them all. As one of the College’s first Deans, McVey supervised the evening classes and those classes held in centers off-campus. He held many positions in three decades of employment at the College, including being the first Dean of the Los Banos Campus.

“Los Banos was the best assignment in my 38 years with the district,” McVey said, remembering his early struggles to find a building and hire faculty. One of those instructors became his beloved wife Catherine, who passed away in 2005.

“Catherine was teaching silk screening for us in the evening,” he said. “She was teaching at Our Lady of Mercy High School, but when the school closed she started working full-time at Merced College. Dr. Barker (Merced College’s first president) brought her into my office and said, ‘Hire this lady.’ And, I did. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.”

Ted and Catherine McVey loved their time together at Merced College and decided many years ago to leave the College a gift from their estate. The first half of their bequest was delivered recently to the Merced College Foundation to establish a $25,000 scholarship endowment for students attending the Los Banos Campus.

“We were going to provide these gifts at the time of our deaths, but I wanted to make this money available now to encourage others to give to the College,” McVey said.
The McVeys were married for 27 years. They enjoyed daily walks along Bear Creek with their dogs. Catherine was an excellent artist and calligrapher, and Ted, though in poor health now, is still is an avid outdoorsman and hunter. Ted retired at the age of 60, but Catherine continued to work until a sudden illness took her life. Their impact on Merced College is still being felt today.

“I tried to get Catherine to retire with me, but she loved working and she loved the students she came in contact with,” McVey said. Catherine McVey, like her husband, held many positions at the college over the years, counselor, student body adviser, instructor. Her death came as a shock to the close-knit college community.

“She was a great lady,” remembers Dennis Gillen, who as president served with Catherine on the Merced College Foundation Board of Directors. “She was so supportive of the College and I knew her presence was going to be missed.”

For Ted McVey, their gift is a small way to give back to the institution they loved.
“We were fortunate to have our lives together and to be able to work for such a great college. Long after we’re both gone, these scholarships will still contribute to students. That’s a good feeling.”

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