For John (Jack) McClure, a U.S. Navy Vietnam Veteran, the road to SBCC began in the mid-1960s in the ocean off the coast of the Philippines. While enlisted, Jack was selected to train on a deep diving system that was on lease to the U.S. government by Ocean Systems, Inc. Civilian technicians from Ocean Systems provided technical expertise to the service members. The technicians were from Santa Barbara and, upon discovering that Jack had relatives there, encouraged him to visit when he returned to the States.
Jack left the military in 1969 and enrolled in SBCC’s new Marine Diving Technology Department, led by Ramsey Parks, a former commercial diver for Ocean Systems. The department was so new that it was not yet located on SBCC’s main campus. Classes were held in a warehouse on Nopal Street. Faculty, such as Parks, Bob Christensen, Tom Only, and Jim Parker, and students worked together to construct the teaching facility while the students shuttled back and forth to main campus for their general education classes.
Jack graduated from SBCC in 1973 with an A.S. degree in Marine Diving Technology. For the next 18 years, he worked for Ocean Systems participating in diving projects across the globe and utilizing rapidly developing technology that allowed the commercial diving industry to dive deeper and stay underwater longer. He settled in Carpinteria where he built a home in the Rincon foothills and raised a family with his wife Ginnie, who is also an SBCC alum. His daughter Rachel graduated from SBCC in the 1990s. All three have successfully utilized the education and training they received at the college.
In the late 1980s, Jack moved to Saipan, the largest of the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. commonwealth in the Western Pacific Ocean. He is part owner and serves as Vice President of Pacific Subsea Saipan, a company that provides submarine adventures for tourists.
Jack readily recalls his “fond memories” of SBCC and is grateful for the education he, his wife, and daughter received. He says, “We wear SBCC colors with pride. Our SBCC campus experiences were the best.”