SANTA ROSA – An anonymous $5 million gift to Santa Rosa Junior College, announced today, will generate approximately $175,000 in scholarship awards annually, according to the college.

The donation is the largest single gift to the school in its 94-year history, and one of the largest from an individual within the 112 colleges in the California Community College System.

“This historic gift will have a profound impact on our dedicated students and faculty. It comes at an important time when many students are motivated to get a college education, but lack financial resources,” said Dr. Frank Chong, college president and superintendent, in a statement.

The gift could go toward funding scholarships through the college’s scholarship office as soon as the fall semester of this year, said Kate McClintock, executive director of the Santa Rosa Junior College Foundation.

“The gift itself was just amazing, this show of generosity from this anonymous donor,” she said. “The donor does hope that this gift will inspire others to support the college”

Ms. McClintock said that it is not yet known how many students will benefit from the annual support, which will remain intact into the future.

The large gift comes at a time when many have lamented the suspension of the scholarship provided through the Frank P. Doyle and Polly O’Meara Doyle Trust, which has benefited 115,000 students attending the college since 1948 and provided at least $1,000 to 2,000 graduating Sonoma County high school seniors who attended the college every fall. That scholarship, supported by the shareholder dividend from Santa Rosa-based Exchange Bank, has been on hold since the temporary suspension of the dividend during a time of industry turmoil in 2008.

Regardless of the expected reinstatement of the Doyle scholarship in the future, Ms. McClintock said that recent donation will continue to exist as a separate and enduring measure to support students.

“It will make a huge impact on students at this college,” she said.