Gator News

Historic $1 million gift to help increase college access and retention efforts

By Philip Denman, September 17, 2018

A landmark $1 million gift from the estate of Gerry and Diana Berger will help individuals struggling economically in South King County access post-secondary training and education.

 “Thanks to the Berger’s generosity, the Foundation will be able to significantly increase the number of student scholarships and short term emergency funding at Green River College,” George Frasier, executive director, Green River College Foundation, said. “This gift will move us closer to the goal of being able to eliminate financial barriers for all students in need.”

Mr. Berger first became associated with the College in 1999, when his company—Northwest Hydraline—began supporting student scholarships. Through this partnership, Mr. Berger got to know faculty, staff and students and financially assisted 21 students while they studied at Green River.

Gerry Berger with 2000 Berger Scholarship Recipient Marie Marquart
Gerry Berger with 2000 Berger Scholarship Recipient Marie Marquart

Prior to his passing in 2004, the Bergers named the Green River College Foundation one of the beneficiaries of a marital trust. Mrs. Berger passed in August, 2017.

“There is a day in the future we are working toward where no student who wants to come to Green River delays or ends the journey to an education due to a lack of money,” Green River College President Suzanne M. Johnson said. “I am very grateful that the Berger gift moves the College significantly closer to that day.”

The gift is counted among the top 5 gifts received by the Green River College Foundation, and according Board President Chuck Folsom, helps position the College to better serve the South King County community.

“This generous gift from Gerry and Diana Berger provides a very significant increase in our ability to remove financial barriers students face in pursuit of their education and their journey to join a highly skilled workforce,” Folsom said. “We invite members of our community to join us as we continue to fulfill our commitment to create access to higher education for all students in the communities we serve.”

For more information about Green River College, visit

To learn more about the Green River College Foundation, as well as giving options, please visit

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