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Santa Monica College

Coordinates: 34°01′00″N 118°28′15″W / 34.0168°N 118.4707°W / 34.0168; -118.4707
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Santa Monica College
Former names
Santa Monica Junior College
Santa Monica City College
  • Humanitas
  • Veritas
  • Munus
Motto in English
  • Friendliness
  • Truth
  • Service
TypePublic community college
Established1929; 95 years ago (1929)
Academic affiliation
Budget$559.2 million (2021-2022)[1]
PresidentKathryn E. Jeffery
Academic staff
Students29,615 (fall 2020)[2]
9,351 full-time
16,925 part-time
Other students
3,339 non-credit

34°01′00″N 118°28′15″W / 34.0168°N 118.4707°W / 34.0168; -118.4707
38 acres (15 ha)
NewspaperThe Corsair
Colors    Blue and white
Sporting affiliations
SCFA (football)
MascotPico the Corsair

Santa Monica College (SMC) is a public community college in Santa Monica, California. Founded as a junior college in 1929, SMC enrolls over 30,000 students in more than 90 fields of study. The college initially served pre-college high school students, eventually expanding its enrollment to educate college-age and non-traditional students with the intention to transfer to a four-year university. The college has high transfer rates to four-year universities such as the University of California and California State University campuses, being a leader among state community colleges in transfers to the former.[3]


20th century[edit]

Santa Monica Junior College was established in September 1929 with 7 faculty members and 153 students in classes held on the second floor of Santa Monica High School. Attended primarily by high school students, it was originally part of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. Despite the ensuing Wall Street Crash of 1929 and Great Depression, the school's enrollment increased to 355 in 1930 and 600 in 1931. In 1932, the college moved to the vacant brick Garfield Elementary School building on Michigan Avenue. The building was declared unsafe following the 1933 Long Beach earthquake and classes moved to tents and bungalows on the Garfield site, which students nicknamed Splinterville.

In 1940, following a number of failed attempts to relocate to a larger property, the school purchased 6.18 acres on Pico Boulevard for $10,197. In 1945, the junior college changed its name to Santa Monica City College.[4] The Pico Boulevard and 17th Street campus opened on January 18, 1952, to 1,200 students. The college's first bond measure was passed in 1946 for the construction of Corsair Stadium, which began in 1946 and was completed in 1948. In 1969, the college secured its own governing board under the creation of the Santa Monica Junior College District. In 1970, the school changed its name from Santa Monica City College to Santa Monica College.[5][6]

Financial crisis[edit]

Santa Monica College experienced a financial crisis in 1972 when the state of California changed the age of majority from 21 to 18. Since the state paid $40 more per unit of attendance of minors than adults, the change cut SMC's budget in half. Additionally, state funding for community college students in California went to the student's home district and not the college's district. SMC had a contract with the City of Los Angeles to finance students from Los Angeles but since one-third of SMC students were from districts outside of Los Angeles the city would lose even more funding. As a result, Los Angeles planned to cancel its financial compensation contract with SMC. The college consequently sent termination letters to all faculty and staff, effective September 1972. The crisis was halted on March 8, 1972, when the California State Senate passed a bill temporarily exempting community colleges from the financial effects of the change in the age of adulthood. On March 21, 1972, the college renegotiated its contract with the City of Los Angeles and rehired its faculty and staff.[7]

In 1980, the college built a new library and transformed the previous library building into the Letters and Science Building.

21st century[edit]

In 2012 Santa Monica College received national attention due to a controversial plan to create a two-tier system of education in which more "popular" courses would be offered at higher costs. Protests at a board meeting immediately following the plan's proposal led to several students being pepper sprayed. A report on the event resulted in an officer's dismissal. The report also faulted several members of the protest for provoking officers.[8] Some people exclaimed "We got pepper sprayed! We won" after the incident.[9]

2013 shooting[edit]

On June 7, 2013, a killing spree occurred in Santa Monica that left a total of five people dead, including the gunman and injured five others. The incident started several miles off-campus before the gunman traveled to SMC and entered the college's library, where he was later fatally shot by police. School officials put the campus on lockdown as Los Angeles Police Department officers, including SWAT, cleared the campus. Local law enforcement stated that they did not view the incident as a "school shooting" because the incident started off-campus.[10]

Organization and governance[edit]

Santa Monica College is the only college of the Santa Monica Community College District, a constituent community college district of the California Community Colleges System (CCCS). The district is governed by its seven-member board of trustees and its officers including the Superintendent/President.[11] The district territory includes Santa Monica and Malibu.

The trustees are elected at-large from registered voters within the district for four years. A student trustee also participates in board meetings as a non-voting member and is elected by the students for one year. The board appoints and supervises the superintendent/president and sets district policy.

The Superintendent of the Santa Monica Community College District/President of Santa Monica College has delegated authority to set rules and regulations for the district and Santa Monica College. The superintendent/president is accountable to the board, and all other officers are accountable to the superintendent/president.[12]

The board of trustees includes a student trustee in accordance with board policy BP 2015.[13] The student trustee is elected and removed in accordance with the constitution and by-laws of the Associated Students of Santa Monica College.[14]


SMC Quad with the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) building in the background

SMC's main campus is located at 1900 Pico Boulevard and is the college's largest location. The college operates six satellite campuses across Santa Monica and Malibu:

  • Bundy Campus, 3171 S. Bundy Dr.
  • SMC Performing Arts Center & Music Academy, Santa Monica Boulevard at 11th Street
  • Center for Media and Design, 1660 Stewart St.
  • Emeritus College, 1227 Second St.
  • Airport Campus, 2800 Airport Ave
  • Malibu Campus, 23555 Civic Center Way (Malibu)


Santa Monica College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC). It offers a variety of occupational certificate programs, including accounting, fashion design, office information systems, and the Academy of Entertainment Technology (which offers certificates in interactive media and animation). The college also offers logistics and supply chain programs at AAS and certificate level.[15] The Santa Monica College Arts Mentor Program provides certain students in the fine and applied arts with graduate-level training by professionals in their specialized fields.


Pico the Corsair at Homecoming 2010

Santa Monica College fields 18 sports, eight men's teams and competes as a member of the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) in the Western State Conference (WSC) for all sports except football, which competes in Southern California Football Association (SCFA).[16] The mascot for SMC is Pico the Corsair.[17] Pico the Corsair derives his name from Pico Boulevard, one of the four main streets which form the exterior perimeter of the campus. He sails on the ship the Lady Sixteen with his pet Pearl the Parrot while carrying his Sword of Silberkraus.[17][18] The Lady Sixteen and Pearl are named after 16th street and Pearl Street respectively.

SMC fields both men's and women's teams in basketball, cross country, soccer, swimming, track and field, volleyball, and water polo. SMC fields men's teams in football, and women's beach volleyball, softball, and tennis teams.

Santa Monica College football played undefeated seasons in 1958, 1966, 1980, and 2015.[citation needed]

Santa Monica College won the Junior Rose Bowl, the unofficial National Championship, in 1958 against Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College on December 13, 1958.[19][20]

Santa Monica College Football is the defending two-time conference champion, for the years 2011 and 2012.

Corsair Field (4,850) built in 1948, is home to football and track and field. The field was the starting point for both the men's and women's marathon events for the 1984 Summer Olympics held in neighboring Los Angeles.[21]

Corsair Pavilion (1,600) is home to men's and women's basketball and volleyball teams, as well as the Hollywood Fame of the American Basketball Association

The Santa Monica College men's volleyball team won the national intercollegiate volleyball championship each year from 1961 to 1966, except for 1965, when it lost the title to UCLA.[22]

Student life[edit]

Fall Demographics of student body
Ethnic Breakdown 2018[23] 2015[24]
Hispanic and Latino American 40% 39%
Black 9% 9.2%
Asian American 9% 15.7%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0% N/A
White 26% 27.5%
Multiracial Americans 5% N/A
International students 10% 11.2%
Unknown 1% 7.4%
Female 54% N/A
Male 46% N/A

In the fall of 2015, there were 33,964 students enrolled at SMC. Of these students:

  • 37.4% were full-time.
  • 62.6% were part-time.
  • 52.8% were women.
  • 47.2% were men.

The average age was 24.1 years.

  • 19 and younger: 30.7%
  • 20 to 24: 41.2%
  • 25 to 29: 12.8%
  • 30 to 39: 8.7%
  • 40 to 49: 3.5%
  • 50 and older: 3.1%

Santa Monica College is the home of KCRW (89.9 FM), a public radio station, broadcasting throughout the Los Angeles and Orange County area with an estimated 450,000 listeners.[citation needed] The station is the broadcast home of Morning Becomes Eclectic.

As part of its hands-on media curriculum, the college produces its own weekly, student-run newspaper (both in print, and online) called The Corsair. The newspaper began as The SaMoJaC and was published every two weeks before being renamed The Corsair in 1945. As part of the college's academic curriculum, publication of The Corsair also provides experience as a hands-on training vehicle for Southern California journalism students.

Big Blue Bus Line 10 departing Santa Monica

SMC students have established a student body association named Associated Students of Santa Monica College (AS).[25][26] The association is required by law to "encourage students to participate in the governance of the college".[27] SMC's Associated Students is a member of the Student Senate for California Community Colleges, a statewide community college student advocacy organization. The statewide Student Senate is authorized by law "to advocate before the Legislature and other state and local governmental entities".[28]

SMC students who pay the $19.50 Associated Students fee at registration have unlimited access to the Big Blue Bus lines across Santa Monica and its adjacent neighborhoods, including a line on Lincoln Boulevard that accesses Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2021-2022 Tentative Budget Narrative" (PDF). Santa Monica College. Retrieved 2022-01-25.
  2. ^ "Fast Facts Fall 2020" (PDF). Santa Monica College. Retrieved 2022-01-25.
  3. ^ "Transfer Statistics". Santa Monica Community College. Archived from the original on August 4, 2018. Retrieved August 4, 2018.
  4. ^ "Santa Monica College: A Community's College". Santa Monica College. Fall 2004. Archived from the original on 2015-04-23. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  5. ^ Yan, Ellen (1989-11-12). "Santa Monica College Shows Some Cheek in Looking Back on 60 Years". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  6. ^ "Corsair 18 October 1989 — California Digital Newspaper Collection". cdnc.ucr.edu. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  7. ^ "Corsair 21 November 2001 — California Digital Newspaper Collection". cdnc.ucr.edu. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  8. ^ "SMC Review Panel".
  9. ^ "Future of Contract Ed Uncertain". The Corsair Online. April 13, 2012. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  10. ^ Wilson, Stan; Levs, Josh; Martinez, Michael (2013-06-09). "Santa Monica shooting victim dies, bringing toll to 5". CNN. Retrieved 2013-07-09.
  11. ^ Bylaws of the Board of Trustees Archived 2013-07-02 at the Wayback Machine of the Santa Monica Community College District
  12. ^ Policy of the Board of Trustees of the Santa Monica Community College District § 2110
  13. ^ SMCCD Board Policy "BP 2015, Student Trustee".
  14. ^ Associated Students of Santa Monica College "Constitution and By-Laws".
  15. ^ Logistics Programs
  16. ^ "2019-20 CCCAA Directory" (PDF). California Community College Athletic Association. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  17. ^ a b "Pico op Myspace". Myspace.com. Retrieved 2011-06-18.
  18. ^ "File:Santa Monica College Masscot Pico the Pirate and his Sword Silberkraus.jpg". Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved 2011-06-18.[permanent dead link]
  19. ^ Junior Rose Bowl
  20. ^ "1958 JUNIOR ROSE BOWL CHAMPS TO BE INDUCTED INTO SMC SPORTS HALL OF FAME". Smc.edu. 1958-12-13. Archived from the original on 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2011-06-18.
  21. ^ 1984 Summer Olympics official report. Volume 1. Part 1. pp. 97–8.
  22. ^ Rodrigo, Arambawattage (1981). The History of Intercollegiate Volleyball in the United States from 1895 to the Present Day (PDF) (Ph.D.). The Ohio State University. pp. 51–74. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2010-04-30.
  23. ^ "2018 USNEWS: Santa Monica College Overview".
  24. ^ See Demographics of California and Demographics of the United States for references.
  25. ^ Associated Students of Santa Monica College tax status and financial reports.
  26. ^ Associated Students of Santa Monica College "A.S. Board of Directors".
  27. ^ Section 76060 of the California Education Code. Retrieved 2018-5-10.
  28. ^ Section 76060.5 of the California Education Code. Retrieved 2018-5-10.

External links[edit]