Cerritos College Foundation - Scholarships

The Richard McGrath Memorial Scholarship

“When I was in the third grade, my school held a career day.  While other dads talked about their jobs, my dad brought a patrol car.”

For over 35 years, Richard Francis “Mac” McGrath was chairman of the Administration of Justice Department at Cerritos College in Norwalk, California.  From the 1960s until his passing in October, 1999, Mac dedicated much of his life to the students and faculty of Cerritos College.

Richard McGrath in uniform with his son circa 1954.The Richard McGrath Memorial Scholarship was established in 1999 by the Cerritos College Foundation and the McGrath Family to honor his memory.  This scholarship is awarded to outstanding students enrolled in the Administration of Justice program, who are actively involved in school activities and/or community involvement related to law enforcement.

Born in Brockton, Massachusetts, in May, 1931, Mac served for ten years as a deputy and a sergeant for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in the 1950s.  His military service included four years with the Naval Reserve, and seventeen years with the Coast Guard Reserve retiring as a Commander in 1991. 

Mac was a professor of criminal justice at Cerritos College for thirty eight years.  While at Cerritos, he acted as faculty advisor to the Pi Kappa Chapter of “Lambda Alpha Epsilon” fraternity for thirty years, and was President of LAE Grand Chapter in 1966.  He was honored as teacher of the year in 1991, and served as Faculty Senate President from 1991 to 1994.

Richard McGrath at Cerritos College circa 1962.“Among the memories that friends remember Mac for is the verbal joust that he and the late Journalism Department Chair, C. Thomas Nelson, would have at the student activities award banquets.  Clearly the closest of colleagues and the best of friends, but they would year after year, get up there (on stage) and present the awards to their students, then take shots at one another that would have the place roaring…”

In addition to his work at Cerritos, Mac taught criminal justice at Irvine Valley College and reserve classes at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Academy.  He was the author of Legal Research:  A Programmed Lesson, California Criminal Law Workbook, and California Criminal Procedure Workbook.

Mac was awarded the “Order of the Arrow” for his work with Boy Scout Troop 248 in Orange, California.  In the 1990s, he hosted a radio talk show dedicated to law enforcement topics, and also served on various state commissions and committees.

Richard McGrath circa 1999.“After Mac’s passing, I was surprised that among those to be notified was the Santa Ana Zoo.  I later learned that Mac volunteered one day a month, as engineer of the children’s train at the zoo.”

At his interment at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, California, a burial flag was presented to the family by the military chaplain"On behalf of the President of the United States, the Commandant of the Coast Guard, and a grateful nation, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved one's service to Country and the Coast Guard."

The Cerritos College Foundation and the McGrath Family hope that the Richard McGrath Memorial Scholarship will encourage future generations of students to continue his tradition of service for community, college, and country.