Santa Monica College journalism professor and student newspaper Corsair advisor Saul Rubin has been named the winner of the newly established SMC Foundation president’s circle chair of excellence in communication.

In addition, three professors have been selected for previously established chairs of excellence: Mark Trujillo in fine arts, Garen Baghdasarian in life sciences, and Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein in philosophy and social science.

The four professors each receive $5,000 a year for each of the next three years to be used for special projects.

Rubin plans to use his award funds to digitize the issues of the Corsair, which date back to Oct. 1, 1929, about two weeks after the school opened.

“We are in danger of losing a most precious historical treasure: More than 80 years of bound archives of the Corsair newspaper from 1929 to the present,” Rubin said in his proposal for the chair of excellence. “These archived editions of the Corsair, housed in the Santa Monica College library, are the only remaining copies of this vitally important historical record. Newsprint is fragile — it won’t last forever.”

Rubin, an award-winning journalist, has been teaching journalism at SMC since 1999. He has been a writer and columnist with several publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Variety and Copley Newspapers. He has written six books with a special focus on offbeat travel in California.

Trujillo, who was named Sam Francis/Martin Sosin Chair of Excellence in Fine Arts, plans to use his funds to research materials at workshops in New York and create charts for faculty and students demonstrating the different materials used in drawing and painting.

Trujillo, who has been an art professor at SMC since 1999, has had his work exhibited extensively throughout the nation and has received many awards and fellowships, including the prestigious Guggenheim in painting in 2008.

Baghdasarian plans to use his funds to participate in a major research project in an area in the South Atlantic Ocean believed to be a “garbage patch” for plastic micro-particulates that can have “devastating long-term ecological and health effects on a global scale.”

Baghdasarian has been teaching at SMC for nine years. He has also taught at and done research at UCLA and has been active in environmental issues at SMC.

Tahvildaran-Jesswein has proposed a civic engagement program to improve awareness and understanding of public policy and the impact of public policy on the lives of students.

Tahvildaran-Jesswein, a political science professor and former Academic Senate president, has been teaching at SMC since 1999.

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