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Santa Monica College Foundation Names New Board Members, Awards Grants


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By Lookout Staff

September 8, 2017 -- A plastic surgeon, a Grammy winning producer and the founder of an on-line apartment rental service are among the new members of the Santa Monica College Foundation's (SMCF) board of directors, college officials announced Thursday.

The nonprofit group -- which provides scholarships and supports academic programs and innovative faculty projects -- also announced it has awarded over $100,000 in grants to more than two dozen faculty members.

The following five new new members have been named to the foundation's board:

* Dr. Tiffany Grunwald, a world-renown plastic surgeon specializing in cosmetic and reconstructive breast surgery who is a Division Chief at Providence St. John’s Hospital,

* Sebastian Krys, a five-time Latin Grammy Award winning producer and engineer who has worked with such Latin music stars J.Lo, Shakira and Marc Anthony, and who was the A&R rep behind the global smash hit “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi,

* Mark Verge, an entrepreneur and investor whose diverse portfolio includes 31 businesses and was founder of Westside Rentals, which recently sold to the CoStar Group, operator of,

* Tami Halton Pardee, owner and principal broker of Halton Pardee + Partners, who has been ranked the number one broker in Los Angeles since 2005 and was recently recognized by Good Housekeeping magazine with its 2016 Awesome Women Award, and

* Margaret Moore Sohagi, a land use attorney whose clients have included cities, counties, and other public agencies throughout the state.

“The SMC Foundation is thrilled to welcome these five individuals to our Board," said SMC Foundation Board Chair Deanna Hansen. "The breadth of professional experience and achievement they represent is truly impressive."

SMC Superintendent/President Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery, who is a member of the foundation board, welcomed the new members.

“These five highly-accomplished individuals have joined a very stellar and dedicated Foundation Board -- all of them true advocates for a better world and its transformation through education,” Jeffery said.

The foundation also announced grants awarded to to 29 faculty members this year, officials said.

SMC Art History Professor Walter Meyer was awarded the Sam Francis & Martin Sosin Chair of Excellence in Fine Arts grant. The three-year $15,000 grant will "go towards developing a digital database using Omeka software within the humanities," foundation officials said.

"SMC students will identify a work of art or architecture in their community that relates to coursework and learn to discuss those relationships. The goal is to document at least forty sites on and around SMC’s main campus, to build digital exhibitions that several instructional departments can use."

SMC Geology Professor Lisa Collins was the recipient of the John F. Drescher Chair of Excellence in Earth Science grant. The three-year $15,000 grant will be used to "fund air quality monitoring devices to track how much particulate pollution is being produced" at three sites.

The devices will be located at SMC, the USC Wrigley Institute for Environment Studies on Catalina Island and the UC Santa Barbara Field Station on Santa Cruz Island.

"SMC students will make field trips to these sites, to collect and analyze data for two geology courses," foundation officials said.

The Foundation also awarded 27 Margin of Excellence grants totaling more than $70,000 dollars in varying amounts to faculty members in SMC’s Art, Business, Counseling, Dance, Design Technology, Earth Science, ESL, Life Sciences, Math, Photography and Fashion, Physical Science and Theatre Arts departments.

The grants will be used for projects that include "purchasing a new kiln for the college’s ceramics program, new 3D printers and spectrometer equipment for students to gain hands-on experience in the application of laser spectroscopy and T1-84 graphing calculators for statistics and pre-statistics students," officials said.

“The winners of these awards offer a glimpse at the innovation and excellence that drives Santa Monica College professors, who are among the best in their fields," said Lizzy Moore, who was recently appointed SMC Dean of Institutional Advancement.

"Needless to say, we are deeply grateful to the donors who make it possible for the SMC Foundation to support faculty innovation and student success,” Moore said.

For more information about the SMC Foundation click here.


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