SMC Vice President Inspires Leadership
It's no wonder where Dr. Robert (Bobby) Adams, Santa Monica College's vice president and director of student affairs, gets the strength to direct a community college such as SMC. He says his inspiration came from the first African-American mayor of Los Angeles, Tom Bradley.
Adams admits that in 1973 there were not many African Americans working in Santa Monica school or college districts.
Dr. Alfred Quinn, who was the first African American elementary schoolteacher in the Santa Monica community, brought Adams and other African-Americans to the SMC faculty. Adams grew up in South Central Los Angeles and graduated from Los Angeles High School. He attended Los Angeles City College and Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas, which began his unforeseen educational career.
In addition, he also received a B.A. degree in psychology from Loyola Marymount University and a master's of education degree from the University Southern California.
In June 2000, he received his doctorate in educational management from Pepperdine University.
It was his belief in tradition and legacy that led him to SMC. "We [African-Americans] stand on a lot of shoulders in our successes. Road blocks have been received to actualize our goals," said Adams.
Adams feels he has a responsibility to mentor as many students as possible.
His biggest accomplishment thus far has been the Welcome Center, located in the Cayton Center just north of the cafeteria. Adams describes it as the IKEA approach, were you can enter college on a one-way dominion. Once you enter you have to go through the whole process to complete the procedures.
Part of his philosophy is the ability to lead. "The mind rationalizes, but the heart leads," said Adams. He said the first rule of leadership is "service to others." The A.S. came to Adams for mentoring in leadership when troubles almost collapsed the A.S. board last fall."Dr. Adams has shown me how to stay dedicated to hard work and perserverance, being professional and handling situations with bread and butter," said A.S. President Jeronimo Saldana.
"Associated Students started this year with some insecurities that needed guidance and I am glad I could guide them to be competent leaders," said Adams.
Over the winter session, Saldana realized that an agenda for Black History Month had not been organized, so he took this same compassion and organized the celebration.
In addition, A.S. will be the first community college to attend the United States Student Association Legislative conference in Washington, D.C."I would not be able to get through this year without Adams' guidance. He is like a father figure, nurturing," said Saldana.Adams, whose children are grown, has a nephew living with him, but he is not attending SMC just yet; Adams says work and family come easily to him.