Born in the Mennonite farming community of Corn, Oklahoma, Elwood Schapansky relocated at the age of nine to the Central Valley of California, near Fresno, where he attended school, and participated in developing the family orange orchard. He graduated from Orosi Union High School in 1956, as salutatorian of his class and as a recipient of the Bank of America and the Wishon Scholarships, which allowed him to continue his education at Fresno State University. After graduation, he worked for the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, and then went on to the University of California at Santa Barbara where he attained a Master’s Degree in Physics-and discovered Santa Barbara City College.
After completing studies at UCSB, Dr. Schapansky worked at the Hoffman Science Center, as well as taught at SBCC. The lure and fulfillment of teaching ultimately led him to full-time teaching at SBCC in 1963, where he remained until retirement. In 1968, he was the recipient of the coveted Science Faculty Fellowship, presented by the National Science Foundation. He used this fellowship to study at Colorado State University and received his Ph.D. in Physics in 1971. He subsequently returned to SBCC to continue his teaching duties. He has also taught at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Dr. Schapansky’s avocation/vocation led him to Alaska during summers to fly commercially on the Aleutian Peninsula. Holding an Airline Transport Rating, and as a certified flight and ground instructor, he introduced the Aeronautics Program into the curriculum at SBCC in 1964. In addition to teaching duties, Professor Schapansky served as treasurer of the SBCC Instructors Association and President of the Academic Senate. He served four terms on the Representative Council and was Chairman of the hysics/Engineering/Aeronautics Department for eight years. As a result of studies completed while on sabbatical leave in 1980, Dr. Schapansky led the effort to initiate computer-assisted instruction at Santa Barbara City College.
Dr. Schapansky married, and had two children with his wife Karen, who taught Mathematics at Dos Pueblos High School.