Anonymous $2.5M gift to FVCC honors McClaren

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Bill McClaren is pictured at Buffalo Terrace in this file photo. (Daily Inter Lake file)

Flathead Valley Community College is $2.5 million closer to fully funding its new College Center on campus, thanks to an anonymous gift made to the college in honor and memory of FVCC founder Bill McClaren.

McClaren, the last living founder of the college, died in March at age 89 following decades of service and dedication to the school and its students. McClaren was among the five visionaries who sat around a table in 1965 and mulled over the idea of a community college in Kalispell. That discussion became the springboard for the creation of FVCC in 1967.

McClaren was the college’s first employee, serving as not only its first dean of students but also as head guidance counselor.

The $2.5 million anonymous gift is the latest in a series of large gifts pledged to the ONE Campaign, a privately funded philanthropic project that includes the construction of a $3 million library and learning commons set to open next spring in addition to the 50,000 square foot college center.

Other large donations made toward the $18 million ONE Campaign project include $2.5 million from the Broussard family, $4 million from Paul Wachholz and $2 million from Al and Lisa Stinson, bringing the total current funding to around $14.8 million.

The 50,000-square-foot College Center will include a large performance and lecture hall, a multipurpose activity complex with two full basketball courts, an outdoor amphitheater and a reception hall with an exhibition gallery. The performance hall will serve as the home of the Glacier Symphony. Construction of the College Center will begin in the spring of 2019 with plans to open the facility in the fall of 2020.

Reporter Mary Cloud Taylor can be reached at 758-4459 or mtaylor@dailyinterlake.com.

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