Pasadena City College and PCC Foundation Announce Naming of Keck Biotechnology Program

The Pasadena City College Foundation is excited to announce the receipt of a $1 million gift from the W. M. Keck Foundation to the College’s Biological Technology Program. In recognition of the gift, the Pasadena Area Community College District (PACCD) Board of Trustees officially named the program the Keck Biotechnology Program on Wednesday, September 8th.

The gift was made after PCC’s Biological Technology Program was awarded a Special Project grant to fund a 3-year program titled “Expanding a Diverse Biotechnology Workforce in Cell-Based Biomanufacturing.” It will serve as the lead gift in the Advancing Science Campaign, also announced on September 8th. This gift is historic, in that it is the first gift to any individual community college made by the Keck Foundation.

“One of the most rapidly changing areas in stem cell research and regenerative medicine is the use of cell-based biomanufacturing for the production of stem cell therapeutics with the potential to treat a variety of diseases and disorders,” said Pamela Eversole-Cire, PCC Associate Professor and Director of the Biological Technology Program. “The Keck Foundation investment will enable PCC to quickly expand the Biotechnology Program curriculum to incorporate training in stem cell biomanufacturing and related bioprocessing techniques to prepare our students for the expected increase in employment opportunities in this emerging industry.”

The Keck Biotechnology Program at PCC prepares students to work primarily in the biotechnology industry and academic research laboratories. Approximately 55 students participate in the program each year, representing the diversity of California’s workforce, including first generation college students, high school students, individuals pursuing a second career, women re-entering the workforce, displaced workers, and veterans.

“The biotechnology industry and biomedical research advances rapidly, so it is necessary for PCC’s Biotechnology Program to incorporate these technological advancements into the curriculum to properly prepare the students for the workforce,” said Eversole-Cire.

Funds will go toward the purchase of equipment used for stem cell-based biomanufacturing and related bioprocessing techniques to complement the stem cell culture training currently being offered.

The W. M. Keck Foundation, established in 1954 in Los Angeles by the founder of The Superior Oil Company William Myron Keck, is one of the nation’s largest philanthropic organizations. It supports outstanding science, engineering and medical research. Additionally, it supports undergraduate education and maintains a program within Southern California to support arts and culture, education, health and community service projects.

“We are honored and grateful to the Keck Foundation for their support and generosity,” said Eversole-Cire.