The Mill INN, bequethed to COCC by Carol Mason, will continue to operate.
Millions of dollars in real estate and a private airplane were left to Central Oregon Community College by Bend resident Carol Mason this summer. The donation is “possibly the largest donation to date” given to the college, according to COCC Foundation Executive Director Jim Weaver.
Mason, owner of the Mill Inn and several rental properties in Bend and Redmond, passed away on June 19 at the age 68. During her 16 years here, Mason developed a close relationship with the many COCC students renting from her.
Mason found Bend by chance. She was fond of “flying over towns in her private airplane, landing in places that seemed interesting and exploring,” according to Weaver.
The first thing the retired dressmaker from New York bought was an apartment complex. Eventually purchasing three more, Mason couldn’t help but get to know COCC’s students.
“Carol really got to know them as people over time and she was inspired by the students,” said Weaver. “It’s a testament to the students.”
Weaver gained a lot of respect for the college from her tenets’ stories of great educations and great educators, according to Weaver.
Mason’s donations to COCC included her personal residence, a condominium, four apartment complexes, the Mill Inn and her private airplane. Some of these assets will be liquidated, but Mason requested that the college use the apartments to house students.
The Mill Inn will continue to operate, with revenues going to COCC.
The profits from the sale of Mason’s airplane will be directed to a flight simulator for the aviation program.
The revenues from the sale of her residence and condo will be invested in an endowment with interest payments contributing to scholarships.
Familiar with financial struggles and the hard work necessary to overcome them herself, Mason instructed that her gift be utilized for students that exhibited “great financial need and personal merit,” said Weaver.
The generous philanthropy of Mason will ease the burden of financially strapped students to the tune of nearly $3 million.
“It’s impossible to express how much this means,” said Weaver. “Her legacy is a horizontal gift … it will continue to give for years to come.”
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