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Home > About OCC > Foundation > Planetarium > Our Journey to the Stars

Our Journey to the Stars

Now more than ever, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math have become important facets of all stages of education, from elementary school to colleges and universities. Orange Coast College has always strived to offer these opportunities to its students, and help create the next generation of doctors, scientists, healthcare providers, teachers, and engineers.

Through community investment in the 2012 Measure M bond, generous donations from the OCC Foundation Board of Directors, and private fundraising campaigns, OCC is able to expand this mission. The new planetarium will serve as a vital science center with the goal of engaging K-12 students, college students, and the public with innovative, immersive, and illuminating education opportunities. 

The planetarium project has only been sucessful through the efforts of many dedicated individuals contributing through donations, fundraising, and serving on leadership committees. 

OCC Planetarium Capital Campaign Committee 

  • David A. Grant, Chair President Emeritus, Orange Coast College 
  • Mary Lynn Bergman-Rallis 
  • David J. Cline 
  • Nick Contopoulos, Professor of Astronomy, Orange Coast College 
  • Tara Giblin, Ph.D., Interim Vice President of Instruction, Orange Coast College 
  • Kevin Ballinger, Interim President, Orange Coast College 
  • Rush N. Hill, II 
  • A. Patrick Munoz 
  • Liz Parker, Retired Trustee, Orange County Board of Education 
  • Lorraine Prinsky, Ph.D., Trustee, Coast Community College District 
  • Douglas C. Bennett, Executive Director, Orange Coast College Foundation

Planetarium Director

Scott Mitchell was hired to direct the planetarium in January 2018. Scott comes straight from the University of Maine where he earned a Bachelor's of Science in Physics and a Master's of Engineering in Engineering Physics, specializing in Observational Astronomy and Aerospace Engineering. Mitchell also served as the Assistant Director of the University's Emera Astronomy Center and Maynard F. Jordan Planetarium. 


HPI.jpgThe Orange Coast College Planetarium was designed by Newport Beach-based HPI Architecture. HPI is responsible for facilities on college campuses all over Southern California, including Watson Hall at OCC. The planetarium is designed to be an iconic structure at the heart of the campus that will stimulate and educate individuals of all ages and backgrounds in the world of science. In developing the design a series of program workshops were conducted with a wide range of faculty stakeholders from science, math, art, music, humanities, administrators, and staff and community representatives.