MCC Foundation receives large gift, thanks to retired MCC-Maple Woods leader

The Metropolitan Community College Foundation has received a $1.5 million gift, thanks to a relationship former MCC-Maple Woods President Merna Saliman developed with MCC alumnus and instructor John Neeland and his wife, Anna. 

The generous gift, from the estate of John Robert and Anna Jeanne Neeland, is the largest gift from an individual or family in the MCC Foundation’s history.

Click here to read more about the gift on MCC Newsroom.

John and Anna Neeland, who both passed away in 2012 at the age of 92, were married 67 years. After retiring from a 40-year career at Conoco Phillips, Mr. Neeland enrolled in computer classes at MCC-Maple Woods and was soon recruited to teach hydraulics and pneumatics classes. Later, he volunteered as a chemistry tutor, a role he enthusiastically continued until the age of 87. He served on the MCC Foundation’s board of directors as well as the MCC-Maple Woods Advisory Council.

Saliman, who served as president of MCC-Maple Woods for 14 years before retiring in 2012, developed a close friendship and working relationship with both John and Anna Neeland.

“She did so many extra things for the Neelands that went beyond the call of duty, such as, taking care of them when they were sick, going grocery shopping for them, helping with chores around the house,” said Jackie Snyder, former MCC chancellor. “Merna and her husband, Stewart, spent years building a lasting relationship with the Neelands which ultimately resulted in this gift.”

Before naming the MCC Foundation as the recipient of the Conoco Phillips stock in their bequest, the Neelands made other contributions to the college, including a gift to purchase a new clarion for the bell tower at MCC-Maple Woods. Also, in memory of their only child, who died at the age of 6, the Neelands created the Jeanne Marie Neeland Scholarship Fund, which is distributed annually to a student studying science at MCC-Maple Woods.