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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Gift To Help Build Cal State San Bernardino Observatory
by Darrell R. Santschi - The (Riversidee, California) Press-Enterprise

Pauline MurilloPauline Murillo remembers as a child camping with her grandmother and picking grapes from vines growing on land where Cal State San Bernardino now sits.

"We would listen to Indian tales about the stars and the universe and stuff like that," says the 75-year-old San Manuel Indian band elder. "The things we have been telling our children are now going to be reality."

The university announced Monday that Murillo and her husband, George, have made a "major philanthropic gift" that will be used to help build a $2 million teaching observatory on the university campus. The observatory will be named for the Murillo family.

"It's just a good thing for our children, learning about educational stuff like that," Pauline Murillo said by phone. "It's something we never had before. Now we can help people."

She said university officials have told her that ground will be broken next month for the 1,700-square-foot observatory and that it will take about a year to build.

Astronomy teachers at Cal State San Bernardino said two years ago that they want to install a 20-inch Ritchie Chretien telescope. A second telescope also is planned.

Pauline Murillo said when she was about 11 years old her grandmother would stretch canvas and blankets between trees and camp out during the August grape harvest. She said she continued to pick grapes on the land in succeeding years.

She declined to say specifically how much money she and her husband donated, but described it as "a substantial amount."

The university said in a news release that it had received six other major contributions, including $600,000 from the Keck Foundation and $200,000 worth of concrete from California Portland Cement Co. The cement company will have naming rights to the telescopes.

Reach Darrell R. Santschi at 951-368-9484 or

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