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History of Emeritus College

Emeritus College has a wonderful history of growth and perseverance throughout the years. Although, there were plenty of growing pains along the way, too, including changing priorities in state funding and the many, many changing locations (over 13 moves throughout the years).

“Emeritus locations were quite colorful – from a desk in the old switchboard room on the SMC main campus in 1975 to a multi-storied showcase on Second Street. I still remember the many tight quarters and temporary spaces on the main campus. I now laugh at the memory of the rumble of cars overhead at 1433 Second Street, the line at the restrooms, and the crowded front office...Then a bond issue for a permanent home for Emeritus passed and a fantastic permanent home was purchased. The feeling of being a vagabond was gone.”
– Maggie Hall, retired Associate Dean of Emeritus

Read below for some of the key moments in Emeritus College’s history. (Thanks to Florence Rosenbloom for her research into Emeritus College’s history.)


SMC President/Superintendent, Dr. Richard Moore, formed an advisory committee to create an educational program for retired citizens.


  • Kay Crawford was hired as a coordinator and 10 instructors were hired to teach in the Spring semester.

  • Maggie Hall served as a secretary to the program.

  • 20 classes for seniors were incorporated into the SMC adult education department.

  • $4 fee per Emeritus class was charged with a $2 discount for those with a senior “gold card.”

  • Location: SMC, 1815 Pearl Street: PBX room in Spring, then the Counseling Office in Summer.


  • Maggie Hall promoted to Director of Emeritus College.

  • The number of Emeritus classes offered increases to 64 classes in Fall.

  • Location Change: SMC, 1815 Pearl Street, Language Arts room.


  • Tuition eliminated by California Community Colleges (CCC) Chancellor’s office for older adult programs.

  • Donation of $2 per Emeritus class suggested.

  • The number of Emeritus classes offered increases to 80 classes in Fall.


  • State cuts back funding and the number of Emeritus classes offered is reduced to 55 classes in Fall.

  • A $6-$9 fee is charged per Emeritus class to help subsidize state funding reduction.


  • The number of Emeritus classes offered increases to 105 classes in Spring.

  • Location Change: SMC, ESL building, 16th, and Pearl.


  • CCC Chancellor’s re-instates state support for older adult programs in the Fall.

  • Fees for Emeritus classes dropped.


Location Change: SMC, ESL portable building, 1900 Pico.


Location Change: Converted A/V storage in P.E. building.


Location Change: P.E. Annex and Administrative Annex


Location Change: 1334 Third Street Promenade.


Location Change: 1415 Third Street Promenade.


Location Change: 1433 Second Street, City structure #6.


The number of Emeritus classes offered increased to a peak record of 190 classes.


  • State budget constraints force Emeritus to reduce classes again.

  • A bond issue passed to purchase Emeritus a building of its own.


Location Change: 1227 Second Street, Emeritus College’s beautiful permanent home is built.


Heritage Wall is placed in the Emeritus lobby, sponsored by the SMC Foundation, to honor those who’ve donated $10,000 or more.


  • Maggie Hall retires as the Associate Dean of Emeritus.

  • Ron Furuyama hired as the new Associate Dean of Emeritus.

  • The Great Recession reduces the state’s budget for education, forcing Emeritus to reduce its number of classes again.


  • Gita Runkle hired as Associate Dean of Emeritus.

  • Educational associations, professional organizations, students, citizens, and local representatives successfully advocated amending Senate Bill 173 to no longer reduce the mission of California Community Colleges, which included education for older adults.

  • The number of classes offered is stable at about 120 classes in Fall and Spring.


Spring marks Emeritus College’s 40th anniversary! View photos on Facebook.