• 66 years old
  • Born on October 14, 1947 .
  • Passed away on August 18, 2014 .

This memorial website was created in loving memory of Randal R. Lawson, Executive Vice President at Santa Monica College.  Randy was  born on October 14, 1947 and passed away on August 18, 2014.  He is survived by his sister, Regina Yates, brother-in-law, Howard, and nephew, Tyler.

Randy was an extraordinary human being and his contributions to Santa Monica College and the California Community College system were incalculable.  He treasured his many relationships with colleagues throughout the state. In the tribute area below, please share your favorite remembrance of Randy or the impact he had on you.

A memorial commemorating Randy's life is scheduled for September 17, 2014, 4pm, at the Broad Stage (1310 11th St, Santa Monica, CA 90401).  All are welcome.

In lieu of flowers, please consider contributing to a scholarship fund for Santa Monica College students which has been established through the Santa Monica College Foundation (http://foundation.smc.edu/lawsonmemorial).

Posted by Ida Danzey on 18th September 2014
Randy, I am so glad that I was part of your life experience. I valued the conversations we had and the knowledge that I acquired from you. You were generous with your time and words of wisdom. I know I teased you about being Mr. GQ. I want to be as thoughtful and a master "wordsmith" like you. I miss you!
Posted by Barry Russell on 15th September 2014
Randy will always be remembered as a mentor, friend, and guru to all the Chief Instructional Officers in California. He was always eager to help anyone who had a question or needed advice. He worked closely with the Academic Senate and others on the California CC Curriculum Committee...and was a master at understanding cryptic Ed Code and Title 5. Above all, I considered Randy as a close friend. When he would visit Sacramento, we would often have lunch or dinner together. His love for Santa Monica College and the California Community Colleges was very evident. Randy will be missed.
Posted by Fran Chandler on 15th September 2014
Randy, you will forever be remembered as a teacher of the best kind. No matter what the topic was, you were always patient, clear, and skilled at making everyone understand it. You saw a world of possibilities for SMC and for the California community colleges in general; and through innovation, integrity, and persistence you were successful in making 99 percent of those possibilities come true. Those of us at SMC are lucky to have stood in your shadow, --Fran Chandler
Posted by Leticia Kilian on 15th September 2014
On behalf of Dr. Barbara Beno, President of ACCJC Dear President Tsang: It is with great sadness that we write to convey our condolences to you and the Santa Monica College family on the passing of Vice President Randy Lawson. He was an outstanding academic leader and I know you are all missing him a good deal. Mr. Lawson was a wonderful, kind, generous colleague to all of us who work with the community colleges. Mr. Lawson served as Accreditation Liaison Officer for Santa Monica College, but we at the ACCJC thought of him as Accreditation Liaison Officer Exemplar. We called on him many times to help train new ALOs throughout the Western region, and he always stepped up to participate in the training events. Mr. Lawson was a very experienced team member, served on many teams and chaired several, and was known by all staff to be expert on many aspects of higher education. He will be in our memories as a wonderful colleague and educatory for a long, long time. Please accept our deepest sympathy on your loss. Dr. Barbara Beno President Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
Posted by Joan Barker on 11th September 2014
It is almost impossible to think of SMC without Randy. His steady, calm presence was always so reassuring, and he dealt with the most difficult situations not only with competence and creativity, but also unfailing fairness. I frequently ran into Randy while he was enjoying his cigarette break outside of the building, both early in the day, and late at night. At those times we always shared a few words of greeting and inconsequential small talk. He was always one of the "good guys", and always a consummate gentleman. He will be sorely missed.
Posted by John Spevak on 6th September 2014
Randy Lawson was a gentleman, a truly gentle man who cared deeply about others. He was an extraordinary colleague and friend who consistently listened and encouraged. Devoted to community colleges, he was a mentor to hundreds of educators. His legacy will live in the hearts of his friends and in the minds of students influenced by his brilliance and kindness.
Posted by Michelle Hillman on 5th September 2014
Randy: I barely new year and I was really excited to co-chair SACC with you. At your last meeting, we asked me to note in the minutes that March would be the 10th anniversary for SACC and that we wanted to do something special. I did make note of it and we will, Randy.
Posted by Kim Schenk on 5th September 2014
It is difficult to imagine SACC without Randy. Insightful, strategic, dapper, humorous, kind and always able to help us understand the context for the complex matters at hand. His intellect and grasp of the "big picture" has left a lasting legacy for our system and yet he also unfailingly, patiently answered every confused and slightly-panicked email or phone call about the minutia of t5 and curriculum. My deepest condolences to SMC and Randy's friends and family.
Posted by Judy Schwartz on 5th September 2014
There is a saying that goes something like this. "Difficult things we do quickly. The impossible takes a little longer." When I had a difficult problem I called someone else. When I faced an impossible situation, I called Randy. Problem solved. Quickly. Creatively. Ethically.
Posted by Karin Costello on 4th September 2014
Randy was a quiet, steady, friendly presence whose dedication to SMC filled his life. His work and his encouragement laid the foundation for much that is good about SMC, both in the past, and now as the college has evolved. His dedication was complete and selfless. That said, my best memory of Randy is of him playing the piano at Richard Moore's house when Richard hosted a party for the SMC community after announcing that he was leaving the college. Randy stayed in the background and contributed melody and beauty to that event---as he so often did. He was humble, gifted, loyal and dedicated---great qualities and now rare. Karin Costello
Posted by Teri Bernstein on 3rd September 2014
Randy's presence was calming and grounded. The care and dignity which he brought to every task both set an example and allowed for everyone to have a voice. He crafted what he wrote and said with honesty, integrity and kindness. I particularly remember the solemn yet efficient and helpful way he handled the distribution of property to distressed students, staff and faculty after the incident in June 2013. This was just one of the many instances where he helped the College move forward. I miss him so much.
Posted by Peggy Kline on 3rd September 2014
It is hard to think about a Santa Monica College without Randy. He has been a constant during my 25 years there. One of my favorite Randy moments occurred in Norma Camp's office after the Northridge earthquake. We were trying to find rooms for spring semester classes that wouldn't fit in our new Science Village. I would recite a class meeting day and time and Randy would think a moment and then come up with a room. We had a class schedule, but we didn't need to refer to it, because we had Randy. He treated it like a fine game. In a way it's a little, trivial thing but to me it represents a tip of the iceberg that was Randy's knowledge of SMC.
Posted by Hannah Lawler on 3rd September 2014
Randy was one of the best people I know and a source of inspiration for me. He had the ability to make every person he interacted with feel special and led with so much poise and grace. I cherish the memories I have of Randy.
Posted by Kelley Brayton on 2nd September 2014
Randy was such a part of what made SMC a special place. I was always in awe of his recall of the history of the College and his ability to put into context of what it meant for the present and future of SMC. Randy was a truly kind and caring individual. This is such a loss to the College community and all of the lives he touched. He will be deeply missed.
Posted by Mary Bober on 2nd September 2014
I will always remember that Randy was the voice behind the phone call that offered me the SMC position. Throughout the years he never failed to say hello when I saw him on campus and was exceptionally gracious.
Posted by Grace Smith on 2nd September 2014
"Randal Lawson's office" - you knew, as well as I did, how proud I was to work for you and I knew that you got a kick out of me referring to you as Randal on the phone. Your great style, the way your impeccable clothes hung on you, the way you carried yourself, your sharp wit, your smile, your counsel (you always knew that phrase I was hunting for!), your knowledge of music and the latest hits on Broadway, your laughter, your incisive input at campus meetings, your many cups of coffee....I could try, but the list of the things I miss about you is endless. You are simply irreplaceable and we will never forget you. You lived SMC and we will do our best to carry on in the Randal Lawson way.
Posted by Jackie Escajeda on 2nd September 2014
Randy made a significant difference for California Community College students. I will miss his welcoming smile, his wisdom, and generosity. His kindness was contagious and he was well respected throughout the state. My heart and prayers go out to his family and dear friends.
Posted by Brian Chapman on 2nd September 2014
Randy Lawson was a new Vice President of Academic Affairs in 1998 when he accepted me as a doctoral intern and Special Assistant in his office I literally mean IN his office--he had a work station set up in his office to create a true mentoring and quality internship experience. He allowed me to shadow him, learn from him, and spend significant professional time with him. It was a life changing experience and one that has marked my career in the most positive ways. Randy was kind, thoughtful, and wise. Randy's humility, dedication, and precision as a leader will remain with me forever. My deepest thoughts are with the SMC community and Randy's family.

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