Laguna Beach couple’s estate donates $1.8M to Laguna College of Art and Design

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Wayne Peterson, left, and Terry Smith, were known locally as generous philanthropists. In 2014, the couple enjoyed the spotlight at LCAD’s gala for their numerous contributions to the college. Photo courtesy of Paul Allen.

The estate of a longtime Laguna Beach couple recently bequeathed $1.8 million to the Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD), marking the largest gift in the school’s history.

Former LCAD Trustee Terry Smith died on Sept. 29, 2016, and his life partner, former Laguna Beach mayor Wayne Peterson, died just over three years later. The Smith-Peterson estate gift will be used to improve student amenities, including food, safety, and technology.

As the Board of Trustee’s Development Committee Chair, Smith was instrumental in the funding of many LCAD projects including the Dennis and Leslie Power Library and the Suzanne Chonette Senior Studios. He also generously contributed to the LCAD Scholarship Fund.

“Wayne and Terry gave to LCAD as if students were their own,” said Hélène Garrison, chief operating officer and provost at LCAD. “They lived in Laguna Beach for more than 40 years and we will feel the impact of their generosity for many years to come.”

The walls of Smith and Peterson’s home were filled with fine art, including the works of many LCAD alumni, students and faculty, according to a press release.

In 2002, Smith became an LCAD Trustee and served with distinction as Development Committee Chair and Collector’s Choice Committee Chair. Peterson served on the Laguna Beach City Council. He was also on the City’s Design Review Board. Plaques recognizing his efforts and contributions can be found throughout the city. Also, Smith was a part of Laguna Beach’s Citizens on Patrol program.

“Without the generous support of Terry and Wayne’s donations, it would have been incredibly difficult to experience my dream of attending a school as amazing as LCAD,” LCAD Alumnus Sureya Davis said.

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