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Lifelong learner and alumna Barbara Beck-Donovan (1928-2019) gifts $1.6 million to SC4, People’s Clinic

Upon her passing on May 6, 2019, SC4 and the Community Foundation of St. Clair County learned of a $1.6 million gift from Barbara Beck-Donovan, which will provide approximately $800,000 to SC4 for the creation of two scholarships and $800,000 to an endowment fund for the benefit of the People’s Clinic for Better Health at Lake Huron Medical Center.

Beck-Donavan attended SC4 – then Port Huron Junior College – from 1946 through 1947. She then transferred from SC4 to Michigan State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in 1949. Beck-Donovan taught English at Port Huron High School until her retirement. Upon retirement, the avid reader returned to SC4 and took a class every fall and winter semester between 1990 and 2019.

Beck-Donovan was well known among the faculty and staff at SC4. One professor who got to know Barbara, Professor Suzanne O’Brien said, “like many of my colleagues, I was greatly saddened by the loss of Barbara Donovan. A former English teacher and literacy teacher for the County Jail, she never failed to inspire me throughout the twenty-plus years she took classes at SC4. She radiated strength, independence, and had a passion for arts and travel. Barbara was a woman of substance, and I will miss her.”

According to her longtime friend and retired CPA Thomas F. McTaggart, Beck-Donovan was most passionate about art and literature. “Barbara loved books and learning about art and literature from different perspectives. She took several classes over because she liked getting viewpoints from different instructors. She also was fortunate to be able to take many trips overseas to places such as France, Italy, Spain and Egypt to see in person what she learned about in classes and books. And, of course, she never stopped teaching others. She had a wonderful ability to help people understand things using creative methods.”

“Barbara was a beloved member of our community and her presence on our campus will be missed,” said SC4 President Dr. Deborah A. Snyder. “SC4 students will benefit greatly from her generosity and love of learning for generations to come. We are incredibly grateful.”

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