World-renowned coral reef authority and world champion surfer Dr. Richard Grigg and longtime Santa Monica community service honoree Nathaniel Trives have been selected for 2009 Santa Monica College Alumni Recognition Awards by the SMC Foundation.
Both men will be recognized at SMC commencement, scheduled at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 16th at Corsair Field, 1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica.
Grigg will receive the SMC Alumni Recognition Award for Outstanding Professional Achievement and Trives is being honored with the Alumni Recognition Award for Distinguished Community Service.
Grigg, University of Hawaii emeritus professor of oceanography, says that it was a zoology professor he had when he attended SMC in the mid-1950s who helped him change his life and make him believe he could be something more than a “surfing bum.”
Grigg went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Stanford, a master’s from the University of Hawaii and a Ph.D. from the University of California at San Diego, Scripps Institute of Oceanography. That was followed by a distinguished career that included 36 years as a University of Hawaii researcher, the publication of three books and more than 100 scientific articles in international journals, a five-year stint as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Coral Reefs, and recognition as the world-renowned expert on precious corals.
At the same time, Grigg says he never lost his passion for surfing. A surfer since he was nine years old, Grigg has spent virtually his entire life taking on large waves all over the world, and he continues to do so today, at the age of 72. He was the winner of the 1967 World Surfing Championship in Hawaii.
Trives attended Santa Monica College in the early 1950s. The first African American class president of SMC student government, Trives would go on to become the first black Santa Monica police sergeant and Santa Monica mayor.
Trives has had a multi-faceted career in public service and a distinguished record of community service that has earned him the nickname “Mr. Santa Monica.”
After receiving an Associate of Arts degree in criminal justice from what was then known as Santa Monica City College in 1954, Trives earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from California State University at Los Angeles and a master’s of public administration from UCLA.
For five decades Trives has served volunteer commitments with scores of national, state and local organizations, including the National Urban League, National Conference of Community and Justice, Rotary Club, Santa Monica Family YMCA, and Santa Monica Historical Society Museum.