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News: Pasadena City College to Celebrate Centennial Birthday of the Late Matthew "Mack" Robinson


Pasadena, Calif., - Dr. Mark Rocha, President-Superintendent of Pasadena City College, and the Board of Trustees, announced today that the College will celebrate the centennial birthday and accomplishments of the late Matthew “Mack” Robinson, Silver Medalist, 1936 Olympics and alumnus of PCC on Friday, July 18, 2014, 5pm, in the Creveling Lounge.  Congresswoman Judy Chu, Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard, Pasadena Vice-Mayor Jacque Robinson, LA84 Foundation President and Executive Board member of the International Olympic Committee Anita DeFrantz, Pasadena NAACP President Gary Moody, and Jim Henderson, President of the Muir High School Alumni Association will join the College in honoring Mack Robinson.

Robinson, a student-athlete, Robinson was a member of the Pasadena Junior College football and track teams. In 1936, Robinson desired to compete in the upcoming Olympics but lacked the money to pay for the trip.  “No one paid an athlete’s way in those days”, Robinson recalled to New York Times reporter Frank Litsky. A group of Pasadena businessmen raised the $150 train fare to the Olympic trials in New York.  Robinson and teammate Jesse Owens were selected to represent the United States in track and field; competing against one another in the 200 meter race, with Robinson finishing in 21.1 seconds to Owen’s 20.7 seconds, an Olympic record.  “The shoes he wore were the ones in trained in, practiced in, and competed in at Pasadena Junior College.  Those shoes did not give him the traction he needed but he was not one to make excuses,” said Delano Robinson, Mack Robinson’s widow.

“It’s not too bad to be second best in the world at what you’re doing, no matter what it is.  It means that only one other person in the world was better,” Robinson has said when speaking about his silver medal.

Mack Robinson returned to Pasadena to set a junior college record in the long jump in 1937.  He would go on to transfer to the University of Oregon where he won the national collegiate and Amateur Athletic Union track titles.  Robinson returned to Pasadena during his senior year to support his family.

Robinson spent his adult years in Pasadena, working with the youth of the city.  In 1984, the US Olympic Committee gave him the high honor of being one of the persons who would escort the Olympic flag into the Los Angeles Coliseum during the opening ceremony. 

In 1977, the City of Pasadena honored Mack Robinson and his younger brother, baseball great Jackie Robinson, dedicating the Pasadena Robinson Memorial in Centennial Plaza, across from City Hall in Pasadena.  

"Mack Robinson is an extraordinary example of the quality of students that have began their studies here at PCC, and gone on to impact the world.  We are proud of Mack Robinson and we honor his legacy and contributions to the Pasadena Community,” said Dr. Mark Rocha, President-Superintendent of PCC. It is a great honor that the Robinson family will allow the College to display the actual shoes (spikes) that he wore during the ’36 race and other memorabilia commemorating his participation in the Berlin Olympics during the centennial celebration. 

The Pasadena City College Centennial Birthday Celebration for Mack Robinson is a part of the Robinson Family Weekend celebration.  PCC, the City of Pasadena, and the Robinson Family will honor Mack Robinson on what would have been his 100th birthday. For more information on the PCC Robinson celebration event, visit:

Complete schedule of events for the Robinson Family Weekend:

Friday, July 18, 2014 ~ 9:00am – 11:30am, Pasadena City Hall, Robinson Memorial, 100 N. Garfield Avenue.

Friday, July 18, 2014 ~ 5:00pm – 7:00pm, Pasadena City College, Creveling Lounge, 1570 E. Colorado Blvd.

Sunday, July 20, 2014 ~ 2:00pm, The Baseball Reliquary’s Shrine of the Eternals 2014 Induction of Rachel Robinson.

Release Date: 07/14/2014
Contact: Gilbert Rivera , Publications Supervisor
Phone: (626) 585-7250