Brooks Institute, Santa Barbara’s 70-year-old private college of photography and communication arts, is now owned by Massachusetts-based gphomestay, a company that primarily facilitates host homes for international students.

The new ownership “will allow us to grow our global presence,” said Brooks Interim President Toni Johnson, who previously served as director of academic affairs. More importantly, she added, the campus will again be “an independent entity” that can roll out new learning structures with greater efficiency.

“The new media and communications arts landscape is dramatically changing,” gphomestay Founder and President Christine Lin said in a written statement. “We want to work with the talented faculty and staff . . . to further enhance the learning environment for students passionate about these fields.” Brooks Institute is gphomestay’s first campus acquisition.

Started in 1945 on State Street, Brooks Institute of Photography was owned by the Brooks family until 1999, when it was sold to Illinois-based Career Education Corporation (CEC). In 2002, CEC opened a satellite campus in Ventura, and five years later, shortened the name to Brooks Institute, as traditional photography coursework gave way to broader curriculums of the Digital Age. The new Brooks president and provost will be announced July 1, replacing Tim Gramling, who served as president for less than a year before departing earlier this month.  

In 2013, Brooks launched the first phase of consolidating under one roof in Ventura; that transition will be complete by September 1, Johnson said.


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