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SBBCollege: More Than 100 Years of History

It was the last generation of the old west. Hitching posts -- wooden beams used to tie up horses -- still dotted the dirt roads of Santa Barbara, California, an isolated small town along California’s Pacific coast. But times were changing.

A prosperous business community needed trained workers. Recognizing this growing need, J.E. Metzger opened Santa Barbara Business College in 1888. The new college was an instant success. At the time, Santa Barbara Business College educated area teachers and offered courses in banking, merchandising, shorthand, typing, and business law.

Metzger saw that the business world was changing. He strongly held that workers needed new and modern skills to advance in their careers. In 1888, he wrote, “The world moves with a wonderful velocity. Old methods are dead. The new ones are what you need and must have.” Under Metzger’s leadership, Santa Barbara Business College prided itself on providing employment-focused education and training. That tradition continues today.

In the 1890’s, leadership of the College was handed to Edward B. Hoover. In addition to his work at the College, Hoover was very interested in developing the business opportunities available in town, and was a charter member in organizing the local Chamber of Commerce. Hoover’s involvement with other business leaders gave him specific insight into which specific skills local employers needed. Quick to respond, Santa Barbara Business College, under Hoover’s direction, adapted quickly to teach specific skills that were in demand.

Over the years, the College added programs to meet the demands of emerging industries and technology and expanded to five communities in Southern California. Throughout the last century - including the Great Depression, countless earthquakes, and two world wars - SBBCollege was a constant presence along California's Central Coast.

In 1988, then-President Dean Johnston commented on the College's historic anniversary. “As we celebrate the College’s 100th year, we feel we have succeeded in fulfilling a need in our community, for students and employers.” Johnston came to lead the College in 1979 in a partnership with Wallace Wong, a successful investor and business owner. In 2005, Matthew Johnston became President of the College. At that time, Dean Johnston moved to the post of Chief Executive Officer.

In recent years, SBBCollege continued to grow. In addition to a new campus location in Rancho Mirage, the College added an MBA program and bachelor's degrees in Business Administration, Law, and Healthcare Administration. International programs came next with the addition of English as a Second Language programs at the College's Santa Barbara campus.

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