George Edward Frakes, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus of History

1962 – 1994


Memories of Santa Barbara City College from 1962 to 1970

 Part I.  My path to a job at SBCC in 1962, and  the perception of the community college prior to 1962.

 I have fond memories of the college. I recall its emerging physical plant, its students and especially my colleagues, some of whom have become lifelong friends. It has always been difficult to get a teaching job in Santa Barbara, and particularly so at Santa Barbara City College (hereafter SBCC or the College). In retrospect, many of my life experiences from the time of my undergraduate years onward all helped to prepare me for teaching at this College which I came to love. This preparation was of crucial importance, particularly in the first year when I had nine new classes that demanded preparation and organization prior to standing in front of the five different classes each semester.

I know that I was so glad to move up to college teaching and at SBCC in particular, that I would have “tackled” any assignment given to me. I was fortunate that I had a lot of different teaching experience for a thirty-year-old instructor. Prior to joining the College’s faculty: I had taught in the United States Air Force, been an examination reader and T.A. at Stanford University, taught on a part-time basis at two schools in the Bay Area, been an adjunct assistant professor in the Air Force ROTC Department at U.S.C., and taught four years for the Santa Barbara City Schools. So I was confident (perhaps overconfident) that I could teach adult students as long as I could be at least one chapter ahead of them in terms of my preparation.

Since I was 19 years of age I had always been interested in community-college teaching. The reason for this attitude was that I had a wonderful summer-school experience as a student at Santa Monica College, the summer of 1951. The instructors there were first rate, in fact they were better than some of my inexperienced graduate-student instructors at Stanford University, where I normally studied. Not only were the S.M. College teachers very good, they clearly enjoyed the students and the art and act of instruction. In candor, I did not enroll at Santa Monica College with the intention of being a future community-college teacher, I signed up there primarily to maintain my “2A” selective-service classification as a student making normal progress toward graduation and secondarily to “knock off” two lower-division graduation requirements. The 2A classification in a draft board that included the Bel Air, Brentwood, and Beverly Hills sections of L.A. enabled me to delay being drafted in the U.S. Army for the Korean War. This strategy worked on a short-term basis in 1951 until I could get into some reserve unit which would enable me to complete my undergraduate education.

I learned something of great value for the future from enrollment in those two community-college classes that summer, and that was the nature of a wide range of students and mankind. I found that the students at SMC were quite different from those upper-middle-class classmates I had previously known at Stanford University and my high school in Beverly Hills, California, as well as those students I would later encounter at the UCLA and USC summer sessions in 1952 and 1953. The Santa Monica College students were quite similar to the students I would teach 11 years later in 1962 at SBCC. As a result, I believe that I had an edge over instructors with only university teaching, as I knew firsthand how to reach the wide variety of socio-economic, age groups, and background interests of junior college students. I also found that the wider range of personal experiences (World War II veterans, teenagers working their way through school, single mothers struggling to work, to study, and to rear children, etc.) to be more interesting than the students at the major universities I attended. These university students pretty much came from privileged backgrounds and had similar world views and little understanding of the problems and challenges of the less advantaged.

My time in the U.S. Air Force also helped to prepare me to community college students. My students at the NCO Leadership Academy and the ROTC students later were of the same age group as community college students I would later teach. Many of these students had similar interests as my community college students. However, they were a bit more motivated than some of my late SBCC students, because a poor performance in my military classes meant a failure to achieve a higher rank and a black mark on their record. In the worst-case scenario it meant to be kicked out of the ROTC unit at USC which meant a certain draft notice and low-paying and possibly dangerous service as a private in the Army in the early stages of the conflict in Southeast Asia.

After my military service in the Air Force (all in the United States) during the end of the Korean War and the Cold War, I returned to Stanford to earn a Masters degree and secondary teaching credential. I had a course in higher education as part of my Masters curriculum, which included some favorable information about community colleges. My path to Santa Barbara City College then led to a secondary-school job teaching in the Santa Barbara City Schools. The gentlemen who offered me this welcomed employment in Santa Barbara were Douglas White (later an acting President of SBCC) and Dr. Norman Scharer (Superintendent of the S.B. City Schools and our College). The job offer by these administrators after nearly a year of personal economic struggles as a graduate student with a young wonderful wife and a small baby to support in a substandard married student housing was a dream that came true. This was because I always was impressed by the city of Santa Barbara when I saw it on my many trips driving north to Stanford from Beverly Hills. There was another crucial fact in our celebration over my first teaching job, and that was the fact that we had nearly run out of my saved military flight pay and the minimal income from my wife’s and my several part-time jobs that we had in 1957-58. Thus when I got the job in Santa Barbara we were very happy indeed.

In my four years with the City Schools, I taught several high-school-level versions of many of the classes I would later teach at SBCC. Our family’s economic situation was not much better as a first-year teacher in the City Schools than was the case as a graduate student. I recall that MY YEARLY SALARY IN 1958-59 WAS $5,200, and that included some credit for my military service and the fact that I was close to the highest column in the salary schedule due to my Masters degree. So as was the case as a graduate student, I had to work at several part-time jobs besides teaching, as our family had increased to two children with the birth of our daughter, Laura. I worked delivering mail at Christmas, served in the Air Force Reserve, which meant driving all the way to Los Angeles to get a paid assignment, teaching summer school, and continuing to take graduate courses at UCSB to earn my Korean-War G.I. Bill monthly stipendium.

These classes at UCSB also helped me later as I added history classes to fill in some of the blanks in my personal background in that field (I was a geography undergraduate major and a history minor), as well as taking some classes to prepare for a pupil personnel guidance counselor’s credential which was another possible career interest of mine at that time. I had to take the classes at UCSB in the afternoon, because I was always teaching summer school classes in the mornings. This limited the number of classes available that were of interest or value. Fortunately one of these classes that interested me greatly was the “Community College”. The instructor was Joseph Cosand, the Director of SBCC (soon to have his title changed to President). He had a fine reputation in the community and amongst the teachers in the City Schools.

Under Cosand’s leadership combined with the hard work of the faculty and staff, the “Junior College”, as it was commonly called, was no longer a high-school with ash trays in the minds of well-informed persons in the community. Cosand was a former chemist, science instructor at community colleges, and administrator in the Bay Area prior to coming to Santa Barbara City College. As a result of all these experiences, he really knew his subject. Joe Cosand was a great teacher. His enthusiasm and commitment for community colleges, in general, and SBCC, in particular, was evident to all of his students that summer, and as I later found out to his faculty members at the College. What was more impressive was the fact that he was a charming, caring, honest, decent, and intelligent gentleman. I knew that by the end of the summer-session class that I really wanted to be a member of a faculty where Joe Cosand was president. On the last day of instruction when I turned in my final examination, President Cosand took me outside the classroom, and told me that if there ever were an opening for either a counselor or a history instructor at SBCC, he wanted me to apply. On hearing this statement, I felt like fate was smiling on me that day.

I continued teaching, coaching (tennis, basketball, and cross country), and working part-time as a counselor at San Marcos High School for the next two years. Then in the spring of 1962, due to a combination of the increase in the number of students, and the fact the full-time history instructor, Dr. Kevin Shover, left for a job at the University of Texas, El Paso, there were job openings in both history and counseling at SBCC for the next academic year. Dr. Joseph Cosand, Stanley C. Sofas, the SBCC economics instructor and the father of one of my high-school honors students, Janet Sofas, as well as Marie Lantagne, the dean of pupil personnel services (who was the wife of my Air Force Reserve Squadron Commander, Dr. Joseph Lantagne) all told of the jobs, and encouraged me to apply for them.

I certainly did apply for both jobs. I immediately called upon Winnifred Lancaster, the dean of instruction, and the aforementioned Marie Lantagne as well as contacting Dr. Cosand to let him know of my enthusiastic interest in working for him.

Shortly after those contacts, Mr. Henry H. Bagish, then the Chairman of the SBCC Social Science Division, came to observe me teach two history classes at San Marcos High School. Shortly afterward I had an interview with Dean Lancaster, and a brief conversation with her replacement for the next year, Robert Casier, and another interview with Dean Marie Lantagne. In a few days I was offered both jobs at SBCC. When I went to see Dr. Cosand, he told me to take my choice of the job I would prefer and let him know in a few days.

I decided that I would prefer the history teaching position for several reasons. The first was that I really enjoyed teaching history and making the past come alive for my students. The second reason was that I was really impressed by the incoming dean Robert Casier. I knew quite a bit about him from several long-time Santa Barbara mutual friends, who told me that he was great guy, the student body president of the high school as well as UCSB, and had been an athletic star in high school (basketball and track), and a varsity athlete at UCSB in basketball and volleyball. I was still playing a bit of both of these sports, and I thought that it would be enjoyable to play them with the dean. Also, Bob Casier had been teaching at the junior-college level for several years, and I believed that he would be a dean who could pass on some information to make me a good teacher at SBCC.

I later learned that I was fortunate to get my job at SBCC. The competition for the one and one half history openings was formidable. (It was wonderful for two of us that the administrators later allowed two evening hourly history classes to be temporarily classified as part of our two full-time contracts.) One of the applicants was Dr. Brad Blaine, who I knew slightly as the Assistant Dean of Men, and a History Instructor at Stanford. Brad Blaine had a reputation as a fine teacher at Stanford. (He was later our daughter’s professor at Scripps College.)

The other significant candidate was Robert Delano Rutherford. He was two years behind me at Stanford, and we had two classes together, one in history, and another in kinesiology. Rob Rutherford, a tall and good-looking guy, was well known on campus as the only professional body builder at Stanford, as well as a decent discus thrower on the varsity track team. I had not seen him since 1958, when I left to go to Santa Barbara, and he worked at a variety of jobs including elementary education prior to being selected to part of a highly selective M.A. program at the University of California, Berkeley, to train community-college teachers. In short, these two gentlemen were top quality applicants.

Even though my dream job as a teacher at SBCC came true, there were some additional important decisions that my wife and I had to make. When I told my excellent high school principal, Arthur North, of my decision to go to SBCC, he asked me to reconsider. The next day, he told me of an offer to become a full-time counselor at San Marcos the next year. Dr. Norman Scharer, the Superintendent of Schools, called me into his office, and also encouraged me to stay at the secondary school level. He mentioned that there were two new secondary schools in the pipeline, Goleta Valley and Dos Pueblos, and I might have a good chance to become a vice principal at one of those if I had high-school counseling experiences.

He also mentioned the fact that counselors in the city schools made $500 a year more than teachers at SBCC. This does not sound like a lot of money in 2011, but these were 1962 dollars, which still bought a lot of goods in those days. My wife, Kay, was pregnant with our third (and last) child, Robert at this time. This promised counselor’s bonus was a factor to be considered seriously. I discussed the economics of the decision to go to SBCC or not with Kay, and she told me to disregard the $500 and to follow my dream of being a college teacher. She wisely told me not to be swayed by the money involved.

As things worked out, it was a good bit of advice on Kay’s part, as I turned down Art North and Dr. Scharer, and took the teaching job at SBCC. Art North left San Marcos High School to become an assistant superintendent, and the man in charge of all the City Schools counselors, I later found out, was not in favor of me being a counselor and only had the job because he had been pressured to take me as a counselor by the principal and superintendent. He had, as a result, little enthusiasm nor “love” for me. So working for him would have been a tough situation without a principal to support me. Also, within a year, SBCC separated from the City Schools (more about this later), and the College teachers’ salaries soon became significantly greater than those of a high-school counselor. So, I ended up doing something I really liked, and in the process earned a better salary than if I had stayed in the City Schools.

The summer before my start at SBCC was a very busy one for me. I taught my last high-school summer session class and once again enrolled in UCSB’s summer term. Since I knew my fall teaching schedule, I tried to shore up areas where I had little or no course work. I audited their “History of Western Civilization” classes as it had been 12 years since I took that demanding course at Stanford. I took a class in American history from 1865 to 1900 (the so-called Guilded Age, and Reconstruction of the South). A kindly UCSB professor of Latin American history, Donald Dozer, gave me a class in directed readings about Hispanic-American history which was my area, without any prior preparation. Just in case I might change my mind about my future at SBC and turn to counseling, I also enrolled in a directed reading class at Westmont College to complete the last requirement to clear my pupil personnel credential from provisional to a regular one.

Besides all this activity, I worked frantically on preparing my syllabi and first-of-the-semester “hand out” materials. Kay and I with our two and ½ children then took a camping vacation in the Sierras for two weeks. I think, in retrospect, I really deserved some recreational time with my family as I was pretty close to wiped out with the events of the previous few months. Back at our first Santa Barbara home a few days prior to the start of the SBCC term, I was refreshed and anxious to start my work in my new school.

PART II.    A memoir of my work at the College from 1962 to 1970

In the first four years we lived in Santa Barbara, the reputation of the College had improved greatly. It was no longer considered to be just a “high school with ash trays” due to the hard work of Joseph Cosand and the faculty and staff. The Adult Education branch of SBCC was highly regarded in the community as well as the nation to add to the increasing luster of the institution. As a result, I really looked forward to my first semester under leadership of Dr. Cosand and Dean Robert Casier.

As I would soon find out that was not to be the case at SBCC. Joseph Cosand left after a few days that term to take a position as the chancellor of a multi-campus community college district near St. Louis, Missouri. Bob Casier found out that he liked teaching more than administration, and returned to teaching political science after one year as dean of instruction. At a pre-school meeting, the S.B. City Schools Superintendent, Dr. Norman Scharer, and his assistant superintendent, Douglas White, attended along with Joseph Cosand. Dr. Cosand officially told a disappointed audience that he was leaving, and then Dr. Scharer announced that Doug White would be a one-semester acting president until a search could find a suitable replacement.

Douglas White was a genial and nice guy, but knew very little about community colleges. Since he still had his regular job at the City School, White had little time to spend as acting president. This meant that the administrative load fell heavily on the shoulders of Bob Casier and Marie Lantagne, our deans. I was aware of all these factors, but the challenge of teaching three new subjects, and the demands of my continuing doctoral studies as well as Air Force Reserve work, meant that all these administrative matters were fairly far removed from interest to me as a very busy classroom instructor.

I vividly remember the first few days of my work at SBCC. The College student body was so small (1,100 students), and faculty equally small, that I got to know all the Social Science Division members easily, the other talented members of the 12-member cohort of new instructors in several divisions quite well, as well as many of the returning faculty members in the first few days. Unlike the City Schools, our orientation for new teachers at SBCC, fortunately, took only a few hours, because the administrators assumed we knew what we were doing. Most of the faculty spent part of that first day in a short meeting, and then we followed that activity by going into the cafeteria (now the business Offices).

There we worked for several hours advising new and/ or transfer students as to the courses they should take for their lower division and academic or technical major requirements. All present sat around cafeteria tables and it was a good way to get to know my colleagues, the counselors, and many students. All the faculty members ate lunch together and chatted, which was very enjoyable for a new faculty member. In the afternoon, after the advising was done, I spent several hours in my office (more later about office space) typing ditto masters (a primitive method used to run off numbers of copies of instructional materials prior to the age of Xerox-type machines) for my several classes. I was so fatigued at the end of that first day, that I drove home quite tired but was able t excitedly share my day’s experiences with my wife and oldest child, Jim.

The next day, my first day of instruction, I was conscientious and left home early so I would have plenty of time to crank the materials I had prepared on to the terrible newsprint type paper that we used at that time. Unfortunately for me, I had a minor “fender bender” automobile accident on the Las Positas bridge over the freeway. The woman who ran into me was pregnant, which was a worry, but no one was injured, but nearly a half hour was spent due to this accident which meant that was lost time for my running off my important class materials. This event obviously did slow me down, and, naturally, the ditto machine was malfunctioning, and I had to be on the dead run to the temporary building (T-4) where I had my first class with the still soggy newsprint materials in my briefcase.

Fortunately in the next 32 years, I had only one minor accident en route to work, and another in the College’s parking lot. Also, fortunate for younger instructors, the dreaded ditto machines were replaced by faster and less troublesome Xerox-type machines in the various division offices, as well as the excellent central duplicating service that provided fine quality copies of materials with relatively short notice required by the instructor.

All my classes started well, but truth be told, I was still spending a lot of time preparing for my History of the Americas (The first semester of a year-long class that combined Latin American history with U.S. and Canadian history.) Even with my summer preparation, I was only four chapters ahead of the students in my lecture outlines on the Latin American and Canadian parts of the class. The U.S. part of the class was not a problem, because I had taught that section of that class many times prior in the American history classes in high school.

I learned that first semester that discussion was easier then, at SBCC, than was the case, excepting honors classes, in my high-school classes. It was because of the wider range of ages and experiences at our College than the teenaged students I taught at Mt. View, San Marcos, and Santa Barbara High Schools. Also, for the first time since my evening teaching work at Redwood City’s Sequoia Evening High School, there were students in my classes older than my 30 years of age. Most of these were retirees and a few were fellow Korean War Era Veterans. These older students brought a wide range of experiences that made the more recent decades of history a joy to teach.

Besides the challenges of teaching, there was a very active and lively social life amongst the faculty members at SBCC. There were fairly frequent parties, particularly with members of the Social Science Division, and their spouses. Often P.E. coaches, Ray Loynd, an English instructor, and Stanford classmate, a new music instructor, Dr. Hal Dunn, and their wives as well as Dr. John Forsyth, an unmarried Spanish instructor, attended these events. In fact, some of the best parties I ever attended were the ones at the homes of SBCC colleagues in my first few years at that institution.

Besides these private social events, there were SBCC student-related off-campus duties such as student dances, etc., that faculty members were expected to chaperone. Besides these requirements, there were expectations (but not requirements) of participation by the faculty for student extracurricular events, such as the all-campus Wednesday mid-day forums/ lecture series, dramatic productions, athletic contests, rallies, etc. Such activities along with official committee assignments, brought faculty members together no matter what their department or division might be. There was even a faculty wives group, which was fairly active that was another bonding mechanism for the faculty community. All these activities created an informal “system” that seemed to work, as I got to know and to like most of my colleagues quite well by the end of my first few years.

Besides my teaching, social life, and my extracurricular work, there were a lot of truly important things taking place in my first three semesters at SBCC that would shape the future of the College for the next one half century. Due to the changes in State law, it was easier than ever before for community colleges to become emancipated from multi-level elementary-secondary-community college districts, such as the Santa Barbara City Schools. The new president who was appointed to replace Joseph Cosand was Dr. Robert Rockwell. He was a local from Carpinteria (I believe that he was of partial Mexican-American ancestry), who had earned a doctoral degree from Harvard. Although not the most personable of gentlemen with his faculty, Dr. Rockwell was an experienced community-college administrator, who led the drive for an independent junior-college district. All the SBCC faculty supported him without reservation in the lobbying the school board on this matter.

Once an independent district was created, the faculty worked hard at selecting a slate of candidates and supporting these ladies and gentlemen in the first election for the trustees or district school board members. The result of the faculty’s work and that of some well- known and concerned citizens as well, the group of original Santa Barbara Community College board members were elected and continued to serve the college with distinction and effectiveness for the decades that followed.

Lessor yet still important matters were considered by the faculty. Some of these were: what the name of the community college district should be; should the name Santa Barbara City College be retained; and the nature of titles for the teaching staff. After considerable discussion and debate, these were all determined by the faculty, approved by the administration, and finally approved by the newly-elected Board of Trustees.

At the same time, the SBCC Instructors’ Association, which was formed under the leadership of Henry Bagish and Bob Casier during the time of an earlier SBCC director, Dr. Leonard Bowman, had an important role to play in our new district. It became the negotiating body for bread-and-butter issues such as class loads, salary schedules, and sabbatical leaves. The result of these negotiations brought SBCC salaries up from a low secondary-school salary pay to a collegiate level that ranged between the 50th and 66.7th percentiles of comparable college districts. These and other policy matters that were the product of college committees as well as the Instructors’ Association, helped to shape the fine working environment that was the case when I taught at the college until 1994.

Also, another important institution in the College’s operation was born in the period from 1962 – 63, that was the Academic Senate. Under the leadership of Sociology Professor Henry H. Bagish, this body was born. At first it included both faculty and administrators in a hope to encourage collegiality and shared decision making, about a wide range of issues. After a few semesters, there was a parting of the two professional segments of the College, and the Academic Senate became a faculty only entity. I was one of the early members of this organization, and served as its vice president and acting president one summer.

Besides all these important structural developments in the College, and the additional new classes I taught in the first few semesters, there were two important additional issues that would have long range impact which should be discussed here. The first, in 1963, dealt with an important issue both at the national level as well as here in Santa Barbara. That issue was the fear, or for others the possible concern, about communist infiltration to weaken the fabric of government and society. This development took place during this very cold period of the so-called “Cold War” between the United States and its allies versus the U.S.S.R. and its Warsaw Pact communist allies in the late 1950s and 1960s. A chapter of a national conservative, anti-communist organization, the John Birch Society, was established in Santa Barbara. The Birch members were active at a variety of levels, and they actively recruited membership including high-school, college, and university students. Among their actions the John Birchers engaged in investigations of what they believed to be communists or communist-sympathizers, teaching in local schools and colleges. One of my colleagues, Frank Dobyns, a political science instructor, who replaced Bob Casier, was deemed to be a subversive force in local education by local members of the John Birch Society. All the members of the SBCC Social Science Division, the College’s administration, Dr. Norman Scharer, and a UCSB political science professor, Dr. Peter Merkle, all defended Frank at a tension filled public meeting. The local newspaper, The Santa Barbara NewsPress, began to investigate Birch activities and actions, for which the paper won a coveted Pulitzer Prize.

Frank was not removed from his teaching position, and his contract was renewed for the next year, and his text book selections were not banned. (Frank, for a variety of reasons, left SBCC and moved to the New York area where he had an extremely successful career, first in NGO fund-raising and later in real estate investments in the northeastern U.S.  He and his wife now reside comfortably in retirement in Montecito when not yachting around the world.)

The second major issue was non-ideological. It addressed accommodating a rapidly increasing student population at SBCC. The passage of a major bond issue, or over-ride property tax measure, was needed to finance buildings to “grow” the College. Once a bond issue campaign was initiated, local son, and leading figure in State-wide community colleges, Dr. Julio Bortolazzo, helped build support for its passage. Support groups thus founded, such as the Foundation for SBCC, and its Continuing Education counterpart, played an important role in an overwhelming 5 to 1 support of the bond. The bond funds, partially matched with State support, helped to build the next Library/ instruction building (now the Counseling Center), a new athletic complex – P.E. offices and Gymnasium, the Life Science  -Geology Building, and additional structures. It also enabled the college to purchase the property under the present West Campus buildings.

For the Social Science Division it meant we could move from the catacombs of the second floor of the old WPA-built/ UCSBC Industrial Arts / Home Economics Building to new, more spacious offices in the second-story of the then ‘new’ Library building. These offices more than doubled the size of our former, poorly ventilated offices in which two instructors shared a space the size of a custodian’s closet, with desks, two file cabinets, and a shared chair for students. Our new offices were more conducive to meeting with students, and sharing ideas with colleagues. We stayed in the Library’s second-floor offices for several years, until moved to a commodious and wonderful temporary building with large individual offices, an office nearby shared by part-time lecturers, and two offices for clerical support staff. This new building, called by all (except administrators) ‘Sofas Hall’, was named after the Economics professor, Social Science Division Chair, and fearsome academic lobbyist for the new (1980’s) building, Stanley C. Sofas.

My first office mate in the Library second-floor offices was my history colleague, Robert D. Rutherford. Not much later, in the early 1980s after earning his Ph.D. in Adult Education and History at UCLA, Rob left teaching to go into poverty work. His explanation, “George, I am leaving, because the big money is in poverty”. Rob started first in middle-management training, but later, and to this day, continues in office time-and-motion efficiency consultation, and conference leadership. He now makes his home in Boulder, Colorado.

My second office mate, with a shared appointment in History and Political Science, was Dr. John Kay, followed by another long-term History colleague and friend, Dr. Curtis Solberg. Curt was a fellow doctoral candidate at U.C.S.B. where he was the History Department’s top T.A.

While the building program brought significant improvements to SBCC, another critical process  taking  place was the administrative power struggle between Dr. Rockwell and Selmar (Sam) Wake, long-time Santa Barbara educator, and Director of the Adult Education Division (later called Continuing Education). At issue was control of the Adult Ed program, and the program’s autonomy while funded within the SBCC District. Sam Wake won, and Robert Rockwell thereby lost support of the Community College Board of Directors. Dr. Rockwell, and some colleagues and friends left shortly thereafter. He became the Superintendent / President of the Santa Clarita Community College District in L.A. County. The upheaval occurred only at the highest District levels, without apparent impact on me or my teaching. It may have had a positive impact in busying administrators, and leaving the teaching faculty to teach.

In the 1970s with expansive hiring of teachers, the older instructors were no longer required to teach classes outside their areas of training and interest. In my case I handed off History of the Americas, Latin American History, History of the American West, and British History to new colleagues and part-time instructors. After 1970 I taught Western Civilization only as substitute for colleagues’ leaves of absence; this is an extremely difficult course to teach. Looking back through 32 years of SBCC records, I find I taught 12 different History classes, one Social Science Honors class, and two Geography courses.

Yet, even during the growth, political maneuvers, and college-wide achievements, I was able to continue with doctoral studies, and to complete my Ph.D. degree at UCSB. It’s hard for me to believe how I did it all: class preparations, History Dept. Chair, an over-load class each term, 3 young children at home, and participating in the Air Force Reserve. The answer to how it was possible was in the support of my wife, Kay, at both SBCC and for the UCSB graduate work. After giving birth to the youngest in 1963 she re-entered her career in education as a home- and hospital teacher.

Another benefit was in SBCC’s generous sabbatical leave policy, enabling me to spend 1965 – 66 in travel and research, and to write my dissertation without the demands of my normal five-class load. Dr. Wilbur R. Jacobs, my doctoral advisor, was very helpful securing a National Defense Education Act grant for my travel to the eastern U.S. for library research there on colonial government. He also persuaded the UCSB School of Education to give me a part-time position with my own office to supervise community-college candidates’ student teaching then required for the junior-college credential. This supervising was on my own schedule, leaving time to research, write, and – yes – to re-write my dissertation.

While on leave for a year to work on my dissertation I was first replaced by a fellow doctoral candidate who jumped at the temporary one-year appointment. But he lasted just six weeks before succumbing to an over-work break-down. His replacement, at the end of the stint, told Dean Pat Huglin, that he would never consider working at a junior college because the work load was too demanding. On my return, Dean Huglin said he had no idea of the heavy and wide-ranging teaching load I typically supported, in addition to being Dept. Chair, and Academic Senator. The year was a rousing success with the publication of my dissertation, Laboratory for Liberty, the South Carolina Legislative Committee System, 1619 – 1776, by the University of Kentucky Press.

I returned to teaching, and Laurenzo Dal’Armi briefly replaced Dr. Robert Rockwell as President/ Superintendent of SBCC. Dal had been the SBCC Business Manager, and before that an elementary-school principal, and before even that Dal’Armi was a great volleyball player for the Hollywood YMCA volleyball teams, famous in the 1940s and 1950s. A charming and intelligent man, willing to talk to my class in Santa Barbara History, Dal was a local high school graduate who attended UC, Santa Barbara College, after World War II. His cousin, Dr. Julio Bortolazzo, replaced him as President/ Superintendent, when Dal left SBCC to become the Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools. He is now retired in the area.

I consider Dr. Bortolazzo, with Dr. Cosand, to be the two finest leaders in the early history of the College. Like Lorenzo Dal’Armi, Julio grew up in the poor Italian/Hispanic part of Santa Barbara, speaking little or no English until he started school. He mastered the language, became a fine athlete, particularly in tennis, soccer, and track, as well as an honor student at Santa Barbara State College (later became UCSB). While teaching in local schools he drove on 1930s highways (no freeway yet) to earn an M.A. from U.S.C. At Harvard in the doctoral program when WW II broke out, he served as a U.S. Naval officer, then returned to Harvard to complete a degree as Doctor of Education. He had outstanding administrative careers at the San Mateo Community College District, and later at Stockton, California. Dr. Bortolazzo had the reputation of a phenomenal college builder as well as developing several highly accomplished Faculties.

He had a unique leadership style. Dr. Bortolazzo was organized. He was an early riser. As Division Chair, and co-Chair of the Instructors’ Association for salary negotiations, I would frequently take his phone calls as early as 5:30 or 6:00 am. It certainly did make me rise and go to bed a lot earlier than otherwise, but I always wondered if these morning calls were a type of psychological warfare (they were often related to tennis matches), or a technique to showcase his mastery of any matter of discussion with me.

His written communications were always on blue paper, restricted to use only in his office. Dr. Bortolazzo acted quickly on issues when Board-approved, such as re-roofing the oldest buildings, and using much of the reserve making long overdue improvements throughout the campus. He believed in compensating his faculty and staff at rates in the top 1/3 of community colleges, provided employees work at a high level. As co-chairman and Faculty salary negotiator with Ray O’Connor, I had to work hard to justify increases in salary and personnel benefits the Instructors’ Association requested; Dr. Bortolazzo came through here for the Faculty and staff.

In the last year of my five-year term as Chair of the Social Science Division, Julio was sympathetic to my requests, giving the Division everything we asked for in terms of materials, and a new Faculty member in Psychology. Although he asked me to stay on for another term as Chair, I preferred to teach two extra classes than do the administrative work with its headaches. I also really could not handle any more calls at 5:30 A.M.

A few years prior to returning to Santa Barbara, Julio was nationally ranked senior tennis player. While administrator he challenged tennis coach Jack Sanford for countless matches, and played Dr. Bob Casier, Dr. Frank Cox, and myself as well, when he learned we played tennis. He used his phenomenal energy to raise money to rebuild the Santa Barbara Municipal Tennis Stadium, never failing to mention to any tennis player that he played the first match ever held in that stadium in 1937.

Dr. Bortolazzo left SBCC after only one year, to serve as Chancellor of the South Carolina, Technical College System. Returning to retire a year later close to the college, I played a lot of tennis with him at the Municipal Courts after my own retirement. In his typical style, he played all the retirees in an organization called MUTS (Municipal Unemployed Tennis Seniors) with monthly meetings for lunch and three-day-a-week very early tennis doubles matches. Whether on the tennis courts, or in the “courts of power at SBCC”, I consider Julio Bortolazzo  one of the giants of our College, notwithstanding his short tenure.

Looking back at nearly a half century ago in 1962, I know I was very fortunate to be selected to join the faculty at SBCC. I was even more fortunate to be able to teach on that enchanted mesa for nearly 32 years, close to a third of a century.

My colleagues there were hard-working, talented, well-educated, pleasant ladies and gentlemen. Nearly 99 percent of the time I looked forward each morning to coming to SBCC to teach my students and to work with my colleagues. I felt it was an honor to teach the young and not-so-young men and women in my classes. Most of them were hard working and good achievers.

In the 17 years since my last full-time semester at SBCC, I have met many of my students not only in Santa Barbara, but also all over the United States, and a few in Europe as well. I am pleased at how well most of them have turned out after they left SBCC. When I return to the campus from time to time, it is pleasing to see the numerous improvements and to be aware of the College’s high regard in the community. I would hope that I, along with many of the earliest faculty members at SBCC, may have in some small way laid the corner stone of the foundation for the wonderful College that exists today.

September 15, 2011

One thought on “George Edward Frakes, Ph.D.

  1. Dr. George Frakes was chair of the History Department in 1972 when I was hired as an adjunct instructor to teach a newly developed course in the History of American Women. Two years later I was fortunate enough, with strong support from George, to join the department as a full time contract instructor. Even more fortunate for me was that George continued as the quiet and wise senior member of the department until his retirement.

    With a PhD in History and experience at both high school and college level, George had an excellent grounding in his discipline and knew how to engage students. He demanded a lot from his students. Charmed by his sly wit (we won’t mention puns) and warm interest in their progress, they met his expectations. As was necessary in the early years when the college was small, George taught an impressive range of subjects in History: U.S., Latin America, Europe, a task that no university professor would deign to take on, but that George, with his remarkable intelligence, was able to manage with seeming grace and without sacrificing quality.

    As the college grew George built the History Department staff, hiring the dynamic and ever popular Curtis Solberg for U.S. History, the erudite and sophisticated Paul McClung for European History, and the bilingual consummate teacher John Eggler for Latin American History. It was this team that I joined to teach U.S. History and Women’s Studies.

    With enrollment growth and instructors able to specialize, George oversaw the development of the curriculum, introducing courses that he knew would help students meet their four year college requirements and would transfer. As public events created the demand for new kinds of courses (such as Women’s History, Black History, the History of Revolution, the History of Science, the History of the West, etc.), he steered new offerings through the Curriculum Committee and found the appropriate instructor, sometimes on an adjunct basis.

    In other words, George retired in 1994 from a History Department that he had largely built, recognized as one of the best departments on campus.

    George’s PhD dissertation had dealt with a political issue in colonial South Carolina. His keen understanding of politics served him well in our academic setting, as George always knew where the resources were and how best to claim a fair share for the History Department. But more importantly, his charm, sense of humor, tact, courtesy, and wit (we won’t mention puns) served often to resolve conflicts and soothe hurt feelings to keep the team working together.

    George was ever a mentor, supporter, friend to me. To have a scholar and teacher of George’s intelligence and integrity, a gentleman in every sense of the word, as my senior History colleague for 22 years added immeasurably to the enormous satisfaction I found teaching at SBCC.

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