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Historical image of students at PCC West Campus

College History

In 1966, the citizens of Pima County, Arizona, approved by a large margin the formation of a junior college district. As a result of this vote, Pima College was established.

The county superintendent of schools then appointed a five-member governing board, which laid the groundwork for the new college. With help from committees of citizens, the board developed educational goals, created a financial plan, selected a president and chose a campus site. The next year the citizens of Pima County elected a board to replace the appointed officials. The voters also approved a $5.9 million bond issue for the College.

In 1969, construction on the first campus began on 267 acres in the foothills of the Tucson Mountains west of the city.

The College's first classes met in the fall of 1969 at Tucson Medical Center and Villa Maria, and in Marana. In fall 1970, Pima College officially opened its doors to 3,543 students. Classes were held in unlikely quarters, a hanger at the Tucson International Airport. By January of 1971, students in all programs attended classes in the 11 buildings on the new Anklam Road campus, today's West Campus.

In 1972, the board renamed the institution Pima Community College to better reflect its mission statement.

Today, the College is made up of West Campus, Downtown Campus, Desert Vista Campus, East Campus and Northwest Campus, among other education sites and locations.

  • In 1969 construction on the first campus began on what is now the West Campus.  Students began attending classes at this campus in 1971.
  • In 1974, the Downtown Campus opened near Stone Ave. and Speedway Blvd. At first, classes were held in a remodeled post office building. The campus grew to fifteen buildings after the purchase of neighboring structures and the construction of the Campus Center and Classroom Technology Building.
  • In 1975, the College established the Community Campus to supplement traditional on-campus education. Currently, this campus offers classes at more than 100 sites in Tucson, Green Valley, Marana and Sells, as well as at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. In addition, Community Campus provides televised classes on local cable channels, online classes, customized training for the business community, noncredit classes and study tours. A new, larger Community Campus facility opened in January 1997 near St. Mary's Road and Interstate 10.
  • The College established the East Education Center in 1976. Five years later the center became the East Campus, located on a desert site east of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, near Pantano and Irvington roads. In fall 1989, the campus doubled in size with the construction of the student union and library.
  • The Education Center-South opened in 1986 and by 1993 had relocated near Interstate 19 and Valencia Road and become the Desert Vista Campus. In 1973, Pima Community College became the local agency sponsor for the Tucson area's Skill Center. This workforce development unit, now called the Center for Training and Development, is located at the Desert Vista Campus.
  • In 1998, the College opened the Northwest Community Learning Center, as a forerunner to the 2003 establishment of the Northwest Campus.

PCC President

  • Dr. Oliver Lane, 1967-1969
  • Dr. Kenneth Harper, 1969-1972
  • Dr. Irwin Spector, 1972-1978
  • Donald Klaasen (Acting), 1978-1979
  • Dr. S. James Manilla, 1979-1988
  • Diego Navarrette, 1988-1989
  • Dr. Brenda Beckman (Acting), 1989-1990
  • Dr. Johnas Hockaday, 1990-1992

PCC Chancellor

  • Dr. Johnas Hockaday, 1992-1995
  • Dr. Robert Jensen, 1995-2003
  • Dr. Roy Flores, 2003-2012
  • Dr. Suzanne Miles (Interim), 2012-2013
  • Dr. Zelema Harris (Interim), 2013
  • Lee Lambert, 2013-present

Through the Decades: A Historic Timeline

Join us in exploring the growth and evolution of the College through its first 40 years! Click on the decades below for the College's history.

1965-1969

1970-1979

1980-1989

1990-1999

2000-2009

2010-2020
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