PRESQUE ISLE — Northern Maine Community College says a $1.2 million gift it’s received from a California woman is the largest donation so far to an Aroostook County higher education institution.

California resident and Presque Isle native Mary Smith made the donation in memory of her late husband, Rodney Smith, who was a pioneer in the semiconductor industry. Despite an impoverished youth in England, Rodney Smith was very successful in the United States as a businessman.

The money will allow for the expansion of the college’s wind power technology program. The college will be able to double its enrollment of first-year students in the program from 18 to 36.

Rodney Smith was the first chief executive officer of Altera Corp., which invented the world’s first reprogrammable logic device in 1984.