Santa Barbara City College concluded the year-long celebration of its centennial in December with the release of A Century of Success, A Future of Possibilities.
The book — authored by Leslie Westbrook — celebrates and chronicles the college’s 100-year history. Its release officially marks the end of SBCC’s centennial celebration, which included a temporary photo exhibition at City Hall and a student documentary at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.
In 1909, a Santa Barbara high school added the 13th and 14th grades to its program, leading to the establishment of Santa Barbara Junior College — later renamed Santa Barbara City College. That same year, a separate school, the Santa Barbara State Normal School of Manual Arts and Home Economics, was created and eventually evolved into UCSB.
State legislation passed in 1921 allowed students to transfer classes from the junior to state college. Westbrook said this paved the road for SBCC to become a reputable college with one of the highest transfer rates to the University of California.
The book also discusses UCSB’s origins. Although many people believe that UCSB and SBCC were at one time the same, former SBCC political science professor John Kay — credited by Westbrook as the conscience of the book — said the two institutions were established separately and built a close relationship over time.
The two campuses were once both located on the Riviera in Santa Barbara. In fact, the current location of the city college was originally planned to accommodate UCSB’s campus. However, in the 1940s the university acquired the former marine training base property in Goleta where it now stands, allowing SBCC to take over its current location.
Westbrook said the two campuses are “educational siblings” whose foundations must be considered both together and independently.
“The hardest part of creating this book was untangling the histories of [SBCC and UCSB],” Westbrook said. “It’s really confusing because the histories of the two are intertwined.”
According to Westbrook, SBCC Superintendent and President Andreea Serban was the brainchild behind the book, as she sought something long-lasting to commemorate the college.
“This book brings one hundred years of history, memories, challenges and victories of [SBCC],” Serban said in the book’s introduction. “Our college provides a first, second, third or lifelong chance for many who otherwise would not have any education opportunity. We are confident in our future and look forward to the next 100 years of stellar history.”
Kay said he is thrilled that A Century of Success, A Future of Possibilities was finally written.
“It was something that was in the minds of the teachers for a while,” Kay said. “It’s a great celebratory piece and it made a contribution to the history of the town.”
Congratulations to author Leslie Westbrook on her excellent work and to the college for preserving its history.