Generous Donation for OCC Planetarium

Sparkling glass, twinkling stars, and Orange Coast’s ONLY Foucault Pendulum on display for an auditorium full of excited onlookers! Thanks to generous donations, that is soon to be a reality for OCC students and community residents!

The foundation of Orange College has recently been presented with a $1 million dollar donation for this unique pendulum (used to demonstrate the Earth’s rotation). This gift was presented in honor of the late Prof. Adelyn Bonin, who passed away January of this year.

Another esteemed former professor of Orange Coast College, Professor Mary McChesney, Partner of the late Prof. Bonin, made this philanthropic donation on her behalf.

Professor McChesney has retired after teaching English and Spanish for 33 years at Orange College. Her partner, Professor Bonin, taught German until they both retired in 1983. In a statement made by Professor McChesney, she said that the planetarium “will be a center of scientific studies for college students as well as the surrounding community.”

91- year old McChesney explained, “I have grown old, but my love for this college is very much alive,” and believes “Here is the promise for an exciting future.”

With this donation McChesney states, “I know Lyn would be happy to do this — this is half hers,” McChesney said. “I like to think she sees what we’re doing and she approves.”

According to Doug Bennett, executive director of the Orange Coast College Foundation, “This is something special for OCC,”. Mr. Bennett is also quoted as saying that even though McChesney has been “an ongoing contributor to the foundation and to scholarships,” that he, “had no idea she would be doing something this generous.”

The new facility is promising to be spectacular! This $20 million dollar structure was financed in part by a 2012 bond measure and $2.1 million dollars worth of donations (like that of Professor McChesney).

The Planetarium is said to contain a 129- seat auditorium, and an exhibit hall featuring a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Science on a Sphere display globe.

This is in stark contrast to the 35- seat old planetarium building it is replacing. The previous building was torn down and its replacement is indeed grand. Learn more about Orange Coast College: and

As stated by Executive Director Bennett, “Technology has changed so much for planetariums that we really needed to build something new,”. This need for improved technology has certainly been accomplished with this outstanding structure.

According to college officials, the Home of the Pirates, will be opening their new Planetarium for the 2018 Fall semester.