Student Experience at College of San Mateo
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Student Experience
Claire Mack
Claire Mack College of San Mateo, A.A., Broadcasting
Antioch College, B.A., Broadcasting and Community Development

Claire Mack, a native of San Mateo, has spent much of her life making the community a better place to live. Having dropped out of San Mateo High School she persevered to earn her high school diploma eight years later from The American School. She went on to earn an AA degree in broadcasting from College of San Mateo (CSM) and BA degrees in broadcasting and community development from Antioch College.

She returned to CSM in 1969 to begin her career in broadcast media as the producer and host of a number of local television and radio shows which aired on KCSM and KGO. She also served as the community affairs coordinator at KCSM-TV, a position she held until retiring in 1998.  Among her achievements at the college, Claire is proud to be the founder and former producer of Jazz on the Hill, a fund-raising jazz concert benefiting KCSM-FM.

In 1991, Claire became the first African-American woman elected to the San Mateo City Council. She served three terms as councilwoman and three terms as mayor. During her years on the council, she fought to preserve and improve neighborhoods, advocated for activities for youth and worked to develop more affordable housing.

Following her service in local government, she has continued to be a tireless advocate for the community, volunteering her time and expertise as a member of many boards and associations. Claire has served on the Mills Hospital Board of Trustees, San Mateo County Grand Jury, San Mateo County Arts Council, San Mateo NAACP, the North Central Neighborhood Council, San Mateo Park and Recreation Commission, Women’s Recovery Association and American Red Cross Board of Directors, among many others.

For her many contributions to the community, Claire has amassed numerous awards and recognitions. In 2005, she was the recipient of the prestigious California Community College Distinguished Alumni Award. That same year, Claire Mack was CSM’s commencement speaker and received the college’s coveted Distinguished Alumni Award. She is a three-time recipient of the Walk of Honor Citizen of the Year award from the Downtown Association of San Mateo and also was named Outstanding Citizen of San Mateo in 1975. Other notable awards include: State of California Women of the Year (1994), Women of the Year from PARCA (1999), Outstanding Community Service from Delta Sigma Theta (1989) Outstanding Broadcaster from the American Women in Radio and Television (1974), African American Woman of Distinction from LINKS, INC (1993)

In 2009, Claire added author to her long list of accomplishments. Her recently published novel, Imitation of Life: The Next Millennium,   set in San Mateo, and, although it is a work of fiction, it is loosely based on a combination of her own life and the 1939 movie, “Imitation of Life.” Claire says that she hopes her book will help people not only live better lives but realize that San Mateo is a great city.