Nursing professor and alumnus of SBCC Michael Yee dies at 68

Delaney Newhouse, Associate Editor

City College alumnus and former nursing instructor Michael Yee died at the age of 68 on Monday, March 6.

Yee was born on January 2, 1955, and graduated from Santa Barbara High School. After attending City College, he transferred to UCSB, where he received his bachelor’s degree. Yee began a career in law enforcement not long after meeting his late wife, Diana, while studying medicine. 

Yee worked in several positions for various federal agencies before the death of his wife Diana. He thereafter returned to Santa Barbara to be with his family. While pursuing a variety of passions and aiding local social causes, he met his wife Jo Anne, whom he married in 2001.

Yee returned to school to complete training as a registered nurse. He worked for a hospital and then for Sansum Clinic, rising in the ranks to serve as director of nursing and infection control. He also revisited City College–no longer as a student, but as a professor in the nursing skills lab. Yee reportedly considered inspiring and shaping the next generation of nurses his proudest accomplishment. He continually demonstrated a great love for his students and community.

“For those that didn’t have the pleasure of knowing Michael, he worked in our nursing lab and he made a tremendous difference to everyone he touched,” said Alan Price, dean of health and human services.

Yee continued to contribute to the City College and greater Santa Barbara community even after his retirement. He was essential in crafting City College’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as he acted as one of three response coordinators who negotiated and planned the campus reopening in fall 2021. The former director of infection control used his knowledge of guidelines and organizations to liaison with public health organizations and direct community compliance with various health directives. He furthermore organized vaccination and testing clinics on campus, making them more widely available and accessible to the City College community.

Interim President-Superintendent Kindred Murillo shared in an email her deep sadness upon hearing of Yee’s death.

“When I first arrived at SBCC I had the opportunity to meet with Michael Yee and experienced his great love for the students he served and SBCC,” Murillo wrote.

Yee is survived by his wife Jo Anne Sciortino, his daughter Andrea Martin, his brothers Leonard and Richard, his nieces and nephews Jared, James, Katherine, and Sarah. 

A memorial service will be held at noon on Friday, March 31, at McDermott-Crockett and Associates mortuary.