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CONTACT: Bruce Smith
Public Information Officer
(310) 434-4209
DATE: December 7, 2004


The Santa Monica College Board of Trustees voted unanimously Monday (Dec. 6) to name Thomas J. Donner, J.D., interim SMC president, effective Jan. 1 through the end of 2005. Donner is currently the college’s executive vice president of business and administration.

The action comes less than three weeks after SMC President Dr. Piedad F. Robertson announced she would be retiring to take the position of President of the Education Commission of the States, a national education policy organization based in Denver. Her retirement becomes effective Jan. 31, allowing for a transition in January.

Donner will serve in the interim position until a new chief executive is recruited and hired for the post, a process that could take a year.

This is the second time that Donner has served as interim president. He was in that capacity from October 1994 through June 1995 between the presidencies of Richard Moore and Robertson.

Donner, who has been with the college since 1976, has had extensive senior administrative and financial experience, overseeing the business operations of a college that has gone through massive facilities changes and more than one state budget crisis.

Last month the Community College Business Officers, a national organization, named him Outstanding Chief Business Officer of the Year.

He chartered the college’s fiscal plan through the aftermath of Proposition 13 tax reform and helped develop a strong international student recruitment program to supplement state funding.

He formed and led a creative team to tackle the rebuilding of permanent facilities damaged by the 1994 Northridge earthquake, laying the groundwork for Federal Emergency Management Agency funding of the Science, Library and Business buildings and other reconstruction projects.

He also negotiated the establishment of satellite sites for the college at Santa Monica Airport and several other locations throughout Santa Monica.

Donner received a Bachelor of Science in Finance and his MBA from California State University, Long Beach. He holds a Juris Doctorate degree from Southwestern University and is an active member of the California State Bar.

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