The Allan Hancock College Foundation raised $290,000 during the college’s year-long centennial celebration, pushing funding for the college’s popular Hancock Promise program to over $5.4 million.

The foundation made the announcement during the college’s virtual Centennial Celebration event on May 22. The $5.4 million puts the organization over halfway toward its funding goal for the Hancock Promise program, which provides the first year of tuition and fees at Hancock free for local high school students.

“We’re incredibly grateful for the generosity of all our sponsors and donors,” said Hancock Executive Director of College Advancement Jon Hooten. “They’re building a lasting legacy that will provide an affordable, quality college education for local students for generations to come. I can think of no better way to honor the 100-year history of this college.”

The funds were donated by a diverse group of local businesses, organizations, and individuals. Local McDonald’s restaurants were a Presenting Sponsor of the event, along with CoastHills Credit Union, which served as the event’s Millennial Sponsor. The foundation also received a $50,000 pledge from the Murphy Foundation during the event. 

Hancock, established in 1920, began celebrating its centennial anniversary in May 2020, capping off the celebration with the May 22, 2021, virtual event, which paid homage to the college’s last 100 years with live performances of songs from the 1920s to the present day from Grammy-award-winning artist Louie Ortega, Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket, Santa Maria native Pryor Baird with his band Pryor & Lee, PCPA artist-in-residence Yusef Seevers, and more. The event was emceed by Santa Barbara County 5th District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino.

As part of the event, the college also announced its Centennial Class of Distinguished Alumni, a list of 100 former Hancock students who achieved distinction in their life and work.

The list of alumni spanned the course of Hancock’s past 100 years in the community, beginning in the 1920s and continuing through to the present day. The names on the list were nominated by the public and selected by a committee of college staff and community members.

The diverse group of distinguished alumni included nationally recognized names such as Super Bowl-winning NFL Coach John Marshall, former U.S. Coast Guard commandant Owen W. Siler, and Grammy-nominated musician Tommy Soulati Shepherd, as well as well-respected local alumni such as former Santa Maria mayor George S. Hobbs, businessman and former AHC trustee Larry Lahr, and Santa Maria Valley YMCA CEO Shannon Seifert, Santa Ynez Valley Star Publisher Raiza Giorgi, among many others.

“These 100 alumni distinguished themselves through their lives, work, achievements and service to their community,” said Hancock Superintendent/President Kevin G. Walthers, Ph.D. “They are an excellent representation of how our college has changed the odds for local students and our community over the past 100 years.”

The virtual Centennial Celebration took place the day after the college’s 2021 commencement, which included more than 500 members of the college’s centennial graduating class participating in a drive-up graduation ceremony.

To learn more about Hancock’s centennial and to view the list of distinguished alumni, visit To learn more about the Hancock Promise or to donate, visit