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Laguna Beach

 Volume 12, Issue 85  |  October 23, 2020

Terry Smith & Wayne Peterson leave $1.8 million legacy to Laguna College of Art and Design

When former Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) Trustee Terry Smith passed away on September 29, 2016, one of his final requests was that contributions be made to the college he served and loved so deeply. Three years and three days later, his life partner Wayne Peterson passed as well. Together, they left behind an enduring legacy of service and an estate gift of over $1.8 million to the college.

The walls of their home were filled with fine art. Their most prized artworks were not by the masters. Rather, they were the works of alumni, students, and faculty from LCAD.

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

Terry Smith & Wayne Peterson 1

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Courtesy of Paul Allen, LCAD

Partners Wayne Peterson (on left) and Terry Smith at 2014 LCAD event honoring their support

“Terry and Wayne’s deep enthusiasm and appreciation for art was undeniable,” said Averi, an alumnus of LCAD’s BFA program in Drawing + Painting (2013) and scholarship recipient, who has donated his work to past LCAD Collector’s Choice and Silent Auction fundraisers. “I will forever cherish the conversations we had at LCAD events. Their love and support for art and artists was, and will continue to be, such a gift and wonderful legacy.”

LCAD Alumnus Sureya Davis said, “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.” 

In his role as Development Committee Chair, Smith was instrumental in the funding of many special projects at LCAD including the Dennis and Leslie Power Library and the Suzanne Chonette Senior Studios. He was especially generous through his contributions to the LCAD Scholarship Fund. Terry was always there to help the college bridge funding gaps on projects when needed, whether for painting main campus or by making additional contributions to the LCAD Scholarship Fund. Campus was a second home to Terry, and he always greeted you with a contagious smile. LCAD was his family.

Tracy Hartman, Director of Development at LCAD, added, “Terry and Wayne were incredibly instrumental in helping other like-minded philanthropic individuals to see the value and importance of LCAD’s mission and vision.”

“We support the students with scholarships to the best of our financial ability because financial aid is imperative for students nowadays,” Smith said in a video produced to honor him and his partner, Wayne Peterson, for their philanthropy to LCAD. “[LCAD Collector’s Choice] is the main way we acquire art.” 

Terry Smith & Wayne Peterson 2

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Laguna College of Art and Design

The Smith-Peterson estate cash gift will be used to fund building and improving student amenities, including food, safety, and technology.

“Wayne and Terry gave to LCAD as if students were their own,” said Dr. 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.”

To see the last interview with Terry and Wayne, click here. 

Founded in 1961, Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) is one of the top nonprofit art and design schools in the nation. LCAD offers undergraduate degrees (BFA) in Animation, Drawing + Painting, Experimental Animation, Game Art, Graphic Design + Digital Media, Illustration, Entertainment Design, as well as Master of Fine Arts degrees (MFA) in, Drawing, Game Design, and Painting. The Dennis and Leslie Power Library at LCAD houses the historic archives of the College and The Rex and Joan Irving Brandt Papers. 

For more information, or to make a gift to LCAD, visit


Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

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Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Marrie Stone, Maggi Henrikson, Samantha Washer, Stacia Stabler and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists.

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