Philanthropist provides $1 million printing press

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By Alyssa Velasquez & Annabel Silva

The donation of a new million-dollar printing press to Riverside City College will enable students in the Applied Digital Media and Printing Program to train using the latest state-of-the-art equipment.

Local philanthropist Janet Steiner headlined a ceremony on April 21 at the college’s lower campus to announce her gift of the Heidelberg Speedmaster Press.

Students and faculty are beginning to see the benefits of a more efficient printing press that can provide for services like shipping and product packaging now that the printing press is installed.

“We think this is a great opportunity for us because we even started thinking (about) looking into ways we can bring revenue into the college, ways to make money,” Printing Services Supervisor Juan Lopez said. “It would give the college a chance to expand its program for (the) future.” 

Director of RCC Business Services Liz Tatum, who organized the event, shared her vision about what the donation would accomplish.

“As we continue to expand our services, I think this is a good opportunity for our students to have that hands-on experience,” Tatum said. “It’s putting us on the map. It’s really expanding our services… I’m very proud of everything that we do here at RCC.”

The event drew dozens of attendees including students, faculty, staff, printing industry professionals and college leadership. Several representatives, such as Mark Takano and Ken Calvert, sent local elected officials to attend and present proclamations to RCC to help mark the occasion.

 Many in attendance took advantage of the tour of the Applied Digital Media facilities and saw demonstrations of various equipment and the new printing press.

Information on the creation of a new scholarship made possible by Heidelberg USA was also announced during the ceremony. Steiner partnered with Heidelberg to establish the new Thoro Packaging Printing Scholarship. “For the next five years, $5,000 would be offered to students who enroll as a declared ADM or printing major,” Digital media and graphics instructor Patrick Scullin said. 

The program will now offer packaging printing classes for students, according to Scullin.

“What is really exciting is that a successful business woman decided to take her retirement and invest in students, improving the program so that we are at a place where we are gonna do things we never have been able to do before,” he said. 

He also shared that this equipment upgrade was almost three years in the making.

Steiner, now retired from leading the Thoro Packaging founded by her parents, said finding a donation recipient was a challenging endeavor but was well worth the effort. She said she had multiple companies deny her offer before reaching out to Scullin, who “was quick to accept.”

She said the donation will give RCC the opportunity to reconstruct its media and graphics program and more easily recruit potential students to join. 

“I know that Patrick has a good plan for training with students, but it is also a ripple effect,” Steiner told the audience. “There are many paths that are offered here and the different departments can develop a marketing plan to seek out potential companies for scholarships and donations to set RCC as the standard of all community colleges.” 

Steiner thanked her parents for paving the way to allow her to branch out from the company. She said the hard work and dedication her father put into his company taught her the responsibilities that come with managing it.

“This is for my mom and dad,” Steiner said. “I had to work at it, but to be able to pay it forward for my dad who developed the company after serving in World War II is an accomplishment.”

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