The OCC Sailing Center received an early Christmas present – a $2 million boat donation. Jerry Barto, a noted developer and longtime resident of Newport Beach, gifted the iconic luxury yacht Nordic Star to help the college's Professional Mariner program, which trains students for careers in the maritime industry.
Barto said: "All three of my kids went to OCC, so this was a family decision. We wanted to help students and this great program, so it was an easy decision to make."
Designed by renowned naval architect, Jack Hargrave, and built in the USA, the vessel will dock at OCC's School of Sailing and Seamanship in Newport Beach Harbor. Classes will be conducted on board year-round.
According to Brad Avery, director of the college's marine programs, the donation is especially timely considering the ailing economy.
Avery said: "We needed a ship that gives students hands-on training and skills they need to get jobs. Nordic Star is absolutely perfect for that."
The boat is the largest received by the college to date. Past boat donations have come from Roy Disney, Dr. Laura Schlessinger and the Steele Foundation.
Dennis Harkins, President of Orange Coast College, said: "This boat will take our Professional Mariner program to the next level."
Classes aboard Nordic Star have already begun.