Maggie Hall, associate dean of Santa Monica College’s acclaimed Emeritus College for older adults – who was with the special program since it was founded in 1974 – in June was named 2009 SMC “Manager of the Year.” Hall retires in June after 35 years with the college.
SMC President Dr. Chui L. Tsang presented the award to Hall at SMC’s 2009 “Recognition Program."
Hall, of Westchester, who started at SMC in 1974 as a secretary to what was then the assistant dean of adult education and Emeritus College, has cultivated the program from a handful of classes and students into a thriving model of lifelong learning with more than 170 classes and 3,000 older adult students.
“As legacies go, Maggie Hall’s legacy, Emeritus College, is the gift that keeps on giving,” Tsang said.
Born and raised in South Florida, Hall taught high school art for three years before moving to California in 1971. After three years as a training assistant in a Los Angeles brokerage firm, she started at SMC, always connected with Emeritus though also taking on other duties for short periods, including overseeing the SMC Foundation, scholarships and alumni association, as well as teaching art through adult education.
Heading a program that has seen phenomenal growth and has become a model for such programs nationwide, Hall has also been an effective fundraiser, drumming up $5 million in donations for Emeritus during her tenure.
“To me, Emeritus College is Maggie Hall, said SMC history professor Harvey Stromberg, who taught current events and history courses at Emeritus for more than a decade through the late 1980s. “She built the Emeritus program from Ground Zero. And she has a certain demeanor and patience in working with seniors that I’ve never seen.”
Emeritus College boasts a wide range of offerings, from business to computer training, from the arts and literature to political science and health and physical conditioning. The program also has an active Emeritus College Band, which performs several times a year at the SMC Performing Arts Center’s Broad Stage and in various community locations, as well as an art gallery that exhibits student, faculty and other works.
All classes are free and, though designed for adults 55 and older, are open to all ages. It is not uncommon to find people well into their 90s taking classes at Emeritus College.
Hall received her bachelor’s degree in art education from Florida Atlantic University and a master’s in art from California Lutheran University. She also received a master’s in counseling from Loyola Marymount University.
She has been involved in many professional and community organizations, including the Community College Educators of Older Adults and Kiwanis Club of Santa Monica.
She is married to Douglas and they have one daughter Jessica.