He built his career using his hands, and now retired auto dealer Andy Butti is donating $500,000 of his success in hopes that Western Nevada Community College students can also succeed.
The largest donation in the history of the Carson City campus will go toward building occupational education and the Jack C. Davis Observatory.
"Some people aren't academically inclined but they are good with their hands," he said. "I think it's an excellent opportunity to get them going in the right direction."
Butti owned and operated Butti Motors from 1958 to 1980 and owned three service stations for 15 years. He said he was always more inclined to think with his hands during school, and his money will most benefit those with a similar inclination.
The largest portion of his donation - $250,000 - will got to an endowment to benefit automotive, welding and machine tool technology programs.
"Most of it is going into endowments so it'll last forever," said Helaine Jesse, vice president of institutional advancement for the college. "His money went so far, it's just unbelievable."
In return, the college plans to dedicate the Welding Technology Center in his honor Nov. 8.
Jesse received the call about a year ago that Butti was considering a donation, but she was not expecting such a large amount.
"I just about fell out of my chair," she said, when she learned of his contribution. "The generosity of Mr. Butti is overwhelming. His donation will take the college further, and in more directions, than we could have hoped."
The donation came in the right area.
"The occupational areas have the highest equipment needs and this donation will help maintain a level of excellence now and in the future," Jesse said.
But Butti's intentions went beyond mere philanthropy.
"I'm not getting any younger," he said. "If I have the money in the bank when I die, the government gets at it first."
Born two blocks from where he lives today to a Carson City native and an Italian emigrant, Butti has lived here all 81 years of his life in Carson City except for three years of service in the infantry during World War II.
Other programs to benefit from the donation will be $150,000 to the Jack C. Davis Observatory, which is under construction, and a scholarship endowment for $50,000. The Andy Butti Occupational Speakers Bureau will receive $50,000 as will the Reynolds Center for Technology.