.Former Cabrillo Instructor Leaves College $2.5 Million

Anatomy and physiology professor Tom Sourisseau’s donation marks the institution’s largest

The Cabrillo College Foundation received the largest estate gift from 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 says. “He was a strong presence at Cabrillo and was deeply committed to the college. When [Sourisseau] 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 Cabrillo and his students through his leadership roles as Faculty Senate President and Biology Department Chair.

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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 says. “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.”


  1. What a beautiful legacy. He was my Physiology Professor-very difficult tests, but we learned Physiology!

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  2. What a legend! I adored Tom. I took Anatomy, physiology and Inorganic Bio Chem from him and he ended up being a mentor and fantastic story teller. He’s love to shock and awe us wide eyed anatomy students with stories from his studies at Berkeley in the muscular dissection labs. I still recall one specific story to this day that I won’t repeat here, but made us all laugh. He will be missed!

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  3. Tom was a wonderful human and friend. His legacy continues as he supports education at Cabrillo College and enhancing the lives of those who will benefit from his generosity. Seeing his face in this article just fills my heart.

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  4. Spent a moment in time with Tom, he was such an inspiration. What a beautiful gift he left for others. I’ll miss your smiling face Tom.

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  5. He was my anatomy instructor a long time ago and he was a great instructor; incredibly dedicated. He also took a group of us on a 4 week backpacking trip in The Hawaiian islands that remains one of my most memorable life experiences. Didn’t know he had passed and it doesn’t surprise me that he would leave such an amazing donation and legacy

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  6. Tom was also a descendant of an early French family in San Jose. His aunt, Eva Sourisseau, left a bequest that founded the Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History at SJSU. A number of years ago, he donated a large and important collection of early family photographs and other ephemera to Sourisseau. What a wonderful generous family!

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  7. Tom was an amazing man and a gift to all those who knew him and learned from him.

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  8. Tom was a truly great person. I had the pleasure of cutting his hair the last 3 years of his life. Such a sweet man. His speech was very limited and I regret that I didn’t know all these wonderful things but am so amazed to see all the good he did and people he touched. I know he cherished those memories. He was full of smiles and every day he was in my chair was a good day. Miss ya Tom!

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  9. One of my favorite instructors ever!
    My regret is that I only had him for one of his classes.

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  10. Tom was my favorite teacher at Cabrillo, I had him for physiology to get into the nursing program where I was able to get my RN. He was the hardest teacher, the most concise and knowledgeable. I barely squeaked a B, and wouldn’t have not gotten into the RN program if I had gotten anything less. I was lucky enough to get to run with him for years and encouraged him to become a lifeguard at the beach. He became my beach captain for the Santa Cruz City Beach Lifeguards , and was always fair and personable. What a wonderful Legacy he has left for Cabrillo college and it’s awesome that a building was named in his honor.

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