Gift from former MJC music student’s trust will boost program, offer scholarships

04/29/2014 7:23 PM

05/08/2014 4:39 PM

The family trust of a former music student has given nearly three-quarters of a million dollars to Modesto Junior College to enhance its music programs and provide scholarships.

President Jill Stearns said the $773,330.03 gift from the Hiram S. O’Kelley and Clara E. O’Kelley Family Trust sets aside $100,000 to support instrumental music programs at MJC. The remaining $673,330.03 will be used to created an ongoing scholarship fund through the MJC Foundation.

Hiram O’Kelley came to MJC from Richmond in 1933. He played in the band and orchestra and served as band director under Frank Mancini. He graduated from MJC in 1935 and started his career in the U.S. Military Band in 1942, said George Boodrookas, the foundation’s executive director.

O’Kelley died in 2002 and his wife, Clara, passed away in October. The couple lived in San Jose.

“The generous gift from the O’Kelley family will positively impact the music programs at MJC immediately and for generations to come. We are incredibly grateful for this legacy gift in support of music at Modesto Junior College,” Stearns said.

The college said the scholarship will assist students who are looking to pursue a career in music or music education and who are economically in need of financial assistance and academically deserving.

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