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Dixie and Brian Welborn Loved West Hills College - Leave Largest Ever Cash Gift

Dixie and Brian Welborn Loved West Hills College - Leave Largest Ever Cash Gift

Dixie and Brian Welborn loved West Hills College Coalinga where they were classmates more than 60 years ago.

Brian was part of a group of 22 World War II veterans who returned to the college to continue their interrupted educations. He went on to a 30-plus year career with Standard/Chevron Oil in the fields near Coalinga.

Dixie (nee Peterson) served as student body president in 1945-46. The next year she graduated and went to work for the college. She retired as supervisor in the business office in 1983 after a 36 year career.

The couple purchased and lived in a small house down the street from the college that they bought in 1951. Dixie was alumnus of the year in 1989 and in 2006 she was honored by the college athletic hall of fame.

West Hills Community College District Chancellor Frank Gornick first knew Dixie when he was a student at West Hills College Coalinga in the mid-1960s. A little lost after arriving in Coalinga from his hometown of Chicago, Dixie helped look out for students and made them feel at home.

"I didn't know where to pick up my work study check," Gornick said. "She called the coach and told him to send me over. She joked with me and asked, "How did I expect to eat?" She always looked out for our best interests."

Dixie and Brian were among the college's biggest cheerleaders-attending athletic events, Christmas open houses, accreditation forums and the district's 75th anniversary celebration in 2007. Dixie served as the final proofreader and fact checker for a 144-page book that the district did in celebration of that anniversary.

Dixie and Brian Welborn Loved West Hills College - Leave Largest Ever Cash Gift
In Sept. of 2009, West Hills offered an early retirement package that was accepted by many long-time employees. A video crew was on its way to the Welborns' house to tape a segment of Dixie welcoming new retirees when Dixie collapsed and a few days later passed away from a massive stroke. Brian followed exactly one month later of a heart attack-some said it was really of a broken heart.

While their physical lives ended, the love affair that had lasted more than 60 years did not end with their deaths. Their estate, in great part, was shared by three entities-the West Hills Community College Foundation, the Coalinga Community Foundation and the Coalinga-Huron Parks and Recreation District, on whose board of directors Dixie served as president and a director for many years.

WHCCF will use its $200,000 share of the initial distribution from the estate for an endowed fund for students, programs and facilities. The Welborn gift is the largest cash gift ever received by WHCCF.

While details have not been finalized, there is no doubt that the legacy the Welborns left will provide opportunities for West Hills College Coalinga students for years to come-a fitting reminder of a couple who loved West Hills College and the Coalinga community it serves.


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