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March 20, 2023

Late faculty member leaves $2.5M to Cabrillo College

APTOS—The Cabrillo College Foundation received the largest estate gift in its history from the late Tom Sourisseau, a former faculty member who died at the end of 2021. 

The Anatomy instructor left $2.5 million in his estate plans that will support biology scholarships and faculty and staff grants to fund staff-driven projects on campus. 

Cabrillo College held a dedication ceremony on Wednesday at the Aptos campus’ Allied Health Building to name the building in his honor.

“Tom was a beloved anatomy and physiology instructor who taught many of the current healthcare workers in this community,” Interim Vice President of Instruction Robin McFarland said. “He was a strong presence at Cabrillo and was deeply committed to the college. When he wasn’t teaching biology, he was teaching county lifeguards. Personally, he was an inspiration—he helped me buy my first wetsuit and swam in the ocean with me, helped me train for my first half marathon, and invited me to a book club which he participated in until the end of his life. He was a respected and valued colleague and friend.”

Sourisseau dedicated more than three decades of his career to teaching at Cabrillo College, where he established a human anatomy program, preparing students for careers in healthcare. Beyond his teaching, Sourisseau demonstrated his dedication to both Cabrillo and his students through his leadership roles as Faculty Senate President and Biology Department Chair.

He was a lifelong learner, consistently enrolling in diverse courses at Cabrillo College including Spanish, chocolate making, dance and wine classes through the Culinary Arts program. 

He received his degree from UC Berkeley in 1968, followed by a two-and-a-half-year service with the Peace Corps in West Africa. He possessed a passion for travel and was fluent in seven languages. He was a lifeguard and trained others in the profession. He often rode his bike to work, loved swimming in the ocean, and was an avid runner.

“Tom will always be remembered for his contributions to Cabrillo and our local community,” Cabrillo College Foundation Executive Director Eileen Hill said. “This gift will be a permanent endowment, ensuring student support for generations to come. I think he would be very proud to make such a lasting contribution to the education of students, especially those walking through the doors of the Sourisseau Allied Health Building.”

Staff Report
A staff member edited this provided article.


  1. The name of Tom Sourisseau will be a part of our campus. His donation of $2.5 million dollars was a complete surprise. Speaking as one of the trustees for our community college, I cannot thank Tom enough . Anatomy is a vital science course, and he trained many doctors and nurses in his classroom.
    We are grateful for his life.

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