Santa Monica College

Santa Monica College
Type Public community college
Established 1929
President Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery
Students 33,000[1]
Address 1900 Pico Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90405
, 1900 Pico Blvd Santa Monica, CA 90405, United States
Campus Urban, 38 acres (15 ha)
Sports 7 men's teams, 9 women's teams
Colors Blue and white
Nickname Corsairs
Mascot Pico the Corsair
Santa Monica College campus boardwalk.

Santa Monica College (SMC) is a two-year, public community college located in Santa Monica, California, United States. Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), SMC is the leader in California's 113 community college system in transfers to the University of California, serving around 33,000 students and offering over 90 fields of study. Since 1929, SMC has provided job training, educational opportunities and cultural enrichment through its radio station KCRW (89.9 FM), the Broad Stage at the SMC Performing Arts Center and lifelong learning through distinctive programs such as its Emeritus College for older adults.

History and description

SMC Quad on a sunny day with HSS in background.

Santa Monica College was first opened in 1929 as Santa Monica Junior College.

Santa Monica College is ranked number one among California's junior colleges in transfers to the University of California,[2][3] University of Southern California, and Loyola Marymount University.

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. The program was designed for select individuals whose talents exceed the scope of the traditional curriculum at the College.

Santa Monica College 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.[4]

Santa Monica College is also the home of KCRW (89.9 FM), a leading public radio station, broadcasting throughout the Los Angeles and Orange County area with an estimated 450,000 listeners. The station is the broadcast home of Morning Becomes Eclectic. As part of its hands-on media curriculum, the college also produces its own weekly, student-run newspaper (both in print, and online) called The Corsair which took home 14 awards at its most recent State Competition,[5] including the Award for General Excellence.


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.[6] Some people exclaimed "We got pepper sprayed! We won" after the incident.[7]

On April 23, 2013, a bomb threat caused the College Fair on campus to be evacuated. The culprit was not discovered.[8]

On May 4, 2013, an SMC student, Tian Lu, committed suicide by jumping off the parking structure. This was the first time in the college's 84-year history that a student committed suicide on campus.[9]

On May 16, 2013, an SMC student threatened to shoot up the school. The threat turned out to be harmless, and the student was apprehended at the psychological services department.[10]

2013 shooting

On June 7, 2013, shortly before noon PDT, a killing spree occurred in Santa Monica that left a total of five people dead, including the gunman, and injured five others; one of the injured died in a hospital two days later. Though the incident started several miles off-campus, with a domestic dispute at a home that left two peoplethe shooter's father and brotherdead, the gunman commandeered a passing vehicle and specifically instructed the driver to take him to Santa Monica College. Several blocks northeast of campus, near the intersection of Pico and Cloverfield Boulevards, the suspect shot at a city bus multiple times and wounded several passengers. Arriving at the southeast corner of the campus at 20th and Pearl Streets, he shot a passing driver, killing him, and critically injured his daughter, who later died.

After leaving the carjacked vehicle, the gunman shot and killed a woman collecting recyclables outside the school's library. The suspect then entered the library, where he was said to have fired 70 rounds (wounding no one) before he was fatally shot by police. The school was locked down and police evacuated some students as they looked for a possible second suspect, but it was later confirmed the shooter acted alone. Russ Holzhauer reported on scene about the shooter's state, "No, he was done".[11][12]

The gunman was later identified as John Samir Zawarhi, 23. Though he was said to have attended the college at one time, other details of his connection to Santa Monica College were unavailable and his motive in moving the rampage to the campus was unknown. Local law enforcement stated that they did not view the incident as a "school shooting" because the incident started off-campus.[13]


SMC is one of few community colleges that has a superconducting magnet which is used in the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy instrument.[14]


Santa Monica College fields 16 sports which compete in the Western State Conference. The mascot for SMC is Pico the Corsair.[15]

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

Santa Monica College football played undefeated seasons in 1958, 1966, 1980, and 2015

Santa Monica College won the Junior Rose Bowl, the unofficial National Championship, in 1958 against Northeastern Oklahoma A&M on December 13, 1958.[16][17]

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.[18]

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.[19]

Also, the Santa Monica College's track is featured on the album cover of Running with Scissors by Weird Al Yankovic.

Pico the Corsair

Pico rattling his sword at Homecoming 2010.

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.[15][20] The Lady Sixteen and Pearl are named after 16th street and Pearl Street respectively.


Ethnic Demographics[21]
Asian 19%
Black 11%
Hispanic 25%
White 32%
Other 8%

There are approximately 30,000 students enrolled at SMC. Of these students:

The average age is 25 years.


Santa Monica College is the one and 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 various officers including the Superintendent/President.[22] 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.[23]

The student government, Associated Students, is governed by its Board of Directors according to the Associated Students Constitution.

Notable alumni


  2. Jenn Garbee; Nancy Gottesman; Stephanie M. Helper; Colleen Dunn Bates; Margery L. Schwartz (2007). Hometown Santa Monica: The Bay Cities Book. p. 80. ISBN 978-0-9753939-2-5.
  3. "CCCD: D-Mail". Retrieved 2011-06-18.
  4. Logistics Programs
  5. "Contests/Awards - JACC - Journalism Association of Community Colleges". Retrieved 2011-06-18.
  6. "SMC Review Panel".
  7. "Future of Contract Ed Uncertain". The Corsair Online. April 13, 2012. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  8. "Bomb scare at College Fair".
  9. "SMC student commits suicide on campus".
  10. "Suspect detained on campus, taken into custody".
  11. "Man opens fire at California school". CNN. June 7, 2013. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  12. "Five shot near Santa Monica College minutes after President Obama's motorcade passed by". New York Daily News. June 7, 2013. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  13. "Santa Monica shooting victim dies, bringing toll to 5". CNN. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
  14. "SMC Students to Intern at Nation's Top Laboratories". Retrieved 2013-04-23.
  15. 1 2 "Pico op Myspace". Retrieved 2011-06-18.
  16. Junior Rose Bowl
  17. "1958 JUNIOR ROSE BOWL CHAMPS TO BE INDUCTED INTO SMC SPORTS HALL OF FAME". 1958-12-13. Retrieved 2011-06-18.
  18. 1984 Summer Olympics official report. Volume 1. Part 1. pp. 97–8.
  19. 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. Retrieved 2010-04-30.
  20. "File:Santa Monica College Masscot Pico the Pirate and his Sword Silberkraus.jpg". Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved 2011-06-18.
  21. "Enrollment Summary, Fall 2007" (PDF). UCLA Office of Analysis and Information Management. Retrieved 2008-04-01.
  22. Bylaws of the Board of Trustees of the Santa Monica Community College District
  23. Policy of the Board of Trustees of the Santa Monica Community College District § 2110
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Coordinates: 34°01′00″N 118°28′15″W / 34.0168°N 118.4707°W / 34.0168; -118.4707

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