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PCC Names Center for the Arts Recital Hall after Robert and Adrienne Westerbeck

Published on Wednesday, December 12, 2012 | 4:45 pm

The Pasadena City College Foundation is proud to announce the naming of the Robert and Adrienne Westerbeck Recital Hall in the new PCC Center for the Arts. The naming and a donation from the Westerbeck Trust to PCC in the amount of $852,270 were commemorated at a reception at the college on Dec. 12.

PCC also awarded the first scholarship to students from the Robert Westerbeck Scholarship Endowment for the arts during the event.

“The extraordinary generosity of alumnus Robert Westerbeck and his wife, Adrienne, will create a permanent endowment for student scholarships and help to insure access to quality public higher education for generations of students to come,” PCC Superintendent/President Dr. Mark Rocha said. “Thanks to the Westerbeck family and the steadfast support of our entire PCC Foundation and community, PCC has become one of the leading public community colleges in the nation for student access to higher education.”

This latest donation form the Westerbeck Trust is in addition to the $4 million donation PCC received in 2011 to establish the Robert Westerbeck Scholarship Endowment. It was the largest single donation in its 87-year history of the college and is believed to be one of the largest donations given to a California community college.

“I am pleased to be able to implement the bequest of Bob and Adrienne Westerbeck,” said Hermina Allen Westerbeck Family Trust Trustee. “There is nothing they wanted more than to give back what Pasadena City College gave them. I know they would be delighted to know that their legacy will be that hundreds more students will have the opportunity to receive the PCC education that they were so grateful for.”

Westerbeck (known to his friends as Bob) attended Pasadena Junior College (PJC) from 1932 through 1936, graduating from both PJC High School and the college.

The story of Westerbeck and his wife, Adrienne, is rooted in the PCC tradition of a fervent belief in education as the way to realize the American Dream. Westerbeck, who died in 2006, often credited his success to the education he received at PCC. Adrienne, who died in 2010 at the age of 103, taught organ and piano at PCC until her retirement in 1971.

For both, PCC was part of a lifetime of service to their community.

After Westerbeck graduated from PJC, he worked for Lockheed Aircraft in Burbank and later for Perkin-Elmer Corporation, another engineering firm then located in Pasadena. Westerbeck was a very tall, distinguished and friendly man with many interests. He played varsity basketball while at PJC and excelled in nearly every sport he attempted, including archery, golf, and cycling. His interests also included music, which led him to meet the love of his life, Adrienne.

In addition to teaching music at PCC, Adrienne gave private piano and organ lessons at Waltrip’s Music Company in Altadena and from her home. Westerbeck met Adrienne when he first took lessons from her, leading to a lifelong romance. The two were married for nearly 50 years until Bob’s passing in 2006.

Adrienne attended the University of Southern California and received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music, as well as a master’s degree in education. After Westerbeck’s passing, Adrienne continued to play the organ on Sundays and Wednesdays at the Christian Science Church in Los Feliz. She passed away on April 3, 2010, just shy of her 104th birthday.

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