In a Donor’s Words: An Interview with Contra Costa College Retiree Susan Lee

By Sara Marellino, CCC Foundation

Dr. Lee, tell us about your history with Contra Costa College.

I am very connected to Contra Costa College (CCC). I have lived in this community for 39 years, with 27 years of my professional life at CCC as faculty and as a dean. I essentially raised my kids here: they took swimming lessons at the pool, were part of the College for Kids program, and took college courses when they were older. CCC was my home away from home and many of my colleagues became dear friends. So many from the College still feel like family.

How would you connect your experience serving students with the role as you see it of the Foundation?

At CCC, we focused on good teaching while always learning more about our students and what they needed to be successful. We met often as a college community to discuss their needs. We hosted extra student events, fed our students, made sure that they had books and peer tutoring and access to childcare if they needed it.

The CCC Foundation was also a mechanism to help us get students the support they needed and otherwise wouldn’t get. You know our student population — working, taking care of their kids and parents, first language often not English. Many of them get the education they need and deserve because of the “all hands on deck” mentality supporting them, from both dedicated College staff as well as the Foundation.

When did you first donate to the CCC Foundation?

I have always believed in giving to the Foundation. I first gave through a monthly donation that came out of my paycheck. It went into a general pot. Once I retired, I set up a monthly donation to support the memory of a colleague of mine who lost her battle with cancer. When you set it up monthly, you almost don’t realize that you’re making a donation. I give to the Foundation because when you do good, it makes you feel good!

What would you say to someone considering their first gift to the Foundation?

Do it now! You’ll feel really good about it and can support whatever you want to at CCC! To support these students who have both a lot of financial need and many dreams that an education can help them reach is a privilege. Plus, the Foundation is doing more and more right now so it’s a good time to get involved.