An anonymous donor has given Santa Rosa Junior College a $5 million endowment that will help hundreds of students pay for college-related expenses each year, the school announced Thursday.

The endowment, which will generate approximately $175,000 annually in scholarships and awards, is the largest single gift in the school's 94-year history.

It is also one of the largest gifts from an individual to the state's community college system of 112 schools, according to a statement from the Santa Rosa Junior College Foundation.

SRJC President Frank Chong would not reveal any information about the donor, whom he said has requested complete anonymity.

Chong said Thursday the endowment would help promising students who struggle with the cost of college, as well as support students in the school's teaching fellows program, which is geared toward students who want to become educators.

"That could include students who want to go into teaching or become counselors or librarians," Chong said.

The scholarships would enable the teaching program to educate more minority students, Chong said.

"We need more teachers from communities of color," he said. "It will encourage more bilingual teachers, as well."

Chong said the donor "provided input" on how the money was to be spent.

He said the endowment is not meant to make up for the loss of the Doyle Scholarship, which had been funded by Exchange Bank dividends until they were suspended in 2008 due to the financial crisis.

During its peak in the 2004-2005 school year, the Doyle gave out $6.4 million, with individual awards ranging from $1,000 to $1,600.

The college has tried to come up with other financial aid programs to help meet the need of low-income students.

"This gift was not intended to replace the Doyle, but certainly students that were eligible for the Doyle should be eligible for this as well," Chong said.

You can reach Staff Writer Martin Espinoza at 521-5213 or martin.espinoza@pressdemocrat.com.