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Salinas Valley Students Get Gift of Education From Former Field Worker

August 8th, 2008

Marcos and Vivian Duran were long-time Salinas residents who worked hard, contributed much, and never forgot the importance of family.

Vivian passed away in January of 1998, and Marcos died last September. On Friday, their nephew Craig Ramos, and his wife, Susan, presented three local institutions with gifts from their estate at a ceremony at Hartnell College.

Vivian and Marcos Duran beside the Model T that Marcos built from scratch.
Vivian and Marcos Duran beside the Model T that Marcos built from scratch.


The gift to Hartnell College to establish a scholarship fund is $140,000. Alisal High School and the Salvation Army in Salinas each receive approximately $70,000. The remaining 40 percent of the Duran estate goes to family members.

What is most remarkable about these gifts to a school and a college is that, while Vivian Duran was a graduate of Gonzales High School, Marcos Duran had no opportunity to get a formal education in his life. His mother had been widowed with two young children and could support them only by working in the fields of California. Her children joined her in the fields as soon as they were old enough to work.

And while Mr. Duran spent most of his career in the agriculture business working as a highly skilled ag mechanic-skills he acquired in the Navy--he never forgot the difficult situation he had been thrown into as a child.

“I remember my uncle telling me that, if he could make it possible to keep even one child from having to work the fields the way he’d had to, it would make him very happy,” said Craig Ramos, in presenting the gifts for scholarships. “Through the Marcos M. Duran and Vivian H. Duran Family Trust, and these gifts to create scholarships for students of the Salinas Valley, my aunt and uncle would be very happy indeed.” Click here to read the complete Statement of Craig Ramos.

District 5 Trustee Celia Perez Martinez accepting this generous donation from Craig and Susan Ramos, Pat Donohue and Alfred Diaz Infante
District 5 Trustee Celia Perez Martinez accepting this generous donation from Craig and Susan Ramos along with Pat Donohue and Alfred Diaz Infante

This gift to Hartnell College Foundation’s Scholarship Fund will be matched by the California Community Colleges Scholarship Endowment, established by the Bernard Osher Foundation’s Initiative for California Community College Students. Gifts are matched on a 2:1 basis, bringing the value of the Duran gift to $210,000. The goal of the Osher Foundation grant is to create a $100 million endowment to support 5,000 scholarships each year for California Community College students.