Surrounded by a standing-room crowd of friends, family and college officials, Anthony Peterson removed a drape covering a sign bearing his name at the newly designated Anthony Peterson Center for Academic Assistance at the Collin College Spring Creek Campus in Plano. Peterson is creating a legacy for his students with his teaching and $150,000 gift. Two additional centers will bear his name at the college’s campuses in Frisco and McKinney.

When Peterson retired from Raytheon as an engineer, he decided he wanted to share his knowledge and began teaching trigonometry as an associate professor of mathematics at Collin College in 2009. The centers for academic assistance are special to Peterson, because he has seen visits to the center trigger “aha” moments when students grasp new concepts.

A father of two college graduates, he clearly remembers the impact of scholarships, and he chose to pay it forward.

“Both of my sons received academic scholarships. With two children in college at the same time, those scholarships did indeed help. Since Collin is such an awesome place to affordably begin a college education, it was natural to endow scholarships at Collin College. It is my privilege to do this,” Peterson said.

Unlike most naming programs, Peterson’s gift did not have to fund construction. The centers already existed at campuses in Plano, Frisco and McKinney. In fact, students visited these labs more than 31,000 times this year for extra help with math, writing and other assignments. Instead of bricks and mortar, Peterson’s gift will create a permanent endowment through the Collin College Foundation to fund scholarships for students.

According to Dr. Neil Matkin, Collin College district president, naming opportunities are on the rise, and this gift marks the eighth donation of this kind.

“Mr. Peterson’s amazing act of generosity will transform the lives of countless future students,” Matkin said. “This donation will provide student scholarships in perpetuity. With the continual growth of our county and college, this gift could not have come at a better time.”

Although the college’s naming opportunities program is not new, Peterson’s gift is a first for two reasons. It’s the first six-figure gift from a part-time faculty member and the first gift to name facilities at all the college’s major campuses. Peterson also requested the specific opportunity for naming rights for any academic assistance centers at future campuses.

“Anthony Peterson has created an incredible legacy for our students with his generosity,” said Dr. Bob Collins, Board of Trustees chairman and founding board member. “We believe his example will inspire others to support students through philanthropy.”

At the ceremony, Peterson was also inducted into the President’s Circle, a Collin College Foundation society for donors who have contributed $20,000 or more over the lifetime of their giving. Naming opportunities at the college range from $25,000 classrooms to multimillion-dollar buildings. Each naming gift automatically qualifies donors as President’s Circle members, and 100 percent of all naming donations go to endowments for student scholarships through the foundation. For more information about naming opportunities or scholarship donations, call 972 599 3145.

The Collin College Foundation is the 501(C)(3) non-profit fundraising arm of Collin College, providing student scholarships and supporting the college’s vision of delivering a brighter future for our students and communities. For the 2017-2018 academic year, the foundation has awarded 607 scholarships totaling more than $767,000.