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History of Cerritos College

Cerritos History

Students who have passed through Cerritos College over the years may not remember the name of every building, or every professor they had or the grade they received - but they will always remember how Cerritos College changed their lives forever. They will remember the rich opportunities Cerritos College gave them to succeed, and they will not forget the life-long friendships they made that turned into an extended family of Falcons. Our legacy of student excellence, achievement and strong community ties lives on. Take a deeper look at our story.

Happy 60th Birthday

Through the Years

The Early Years

  • June 10, 1955 – Residents of Bellflower, Downey, Norwalk, La Mirada, Artesia, Bloomfield and Carmenita Elementary school districts vote to establish the Excelsior Junior College District, which would later become Cerritos College
  •  September 17, 1955 - $6-million construction bond passes by a 4-1 vote
  •  First Board of Trustees (1955)  
    • Dale L.D. Donnell (President)
    • Arthur Kulzer (Secretary)
    • R. Utterback
    • A.E. Sommer
    • Carl Tague
  • September 11, 1956 – First classes offered to 197 students in rented classrooms at Excelsior High School
  • March 25, 1958 – Field House is the first campus building completed
  • June 12, 1958 – First commencement ceremony. Thirteen graduates received Associate in Arts degrees.
  • October 1958 – $8-million construction bond to complete campus buildings

By the end of the decade, Cerritos College boasted eight buildings: Field House (March 1958), Liberal Arts, and Technology and Electronics (September 1959), Business Education, Lecture Hall, Science, and a Locker Room (October 1959). 

  • 1961 – The gymnasium was completed
  • 1965 – Enrollment hit 10,000
  • 1966 – The Board of Trustees approves the purchase of the “South 40,” enlarging the campus to 135 acres

The Ralph F. Burnight Theatre, Student Center, Library and Metal Trade Shops were also developed in the 1960s. By the end of the decade, enrollment reached more than 11,000

  • 1971 – Cerritos Junior College District changed to Cerritos Community College District.  Enrollment reached 15,000 students
  •  Tuition was free to California residents and $30 per unit or $450 maximum for out-of-state residents
  •  Vietnam Veterans made up 21% of the student population on campus during the fall of 1972
  • 1979 – The Cerritos College Foundation was established
  • October 19, 1989 – Cerritos.edu was activated. Cerritos College is the first California community college to connect to the Internet
  • December 7, 1981 – 40 years after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Cerritos College dedicates the U.S.S. Pelias Bell from the U.S.S. Pelias that survived the attack. The monument is a permanent fixture in the Administrative Quad
  • 1984 – California community colleges introduce enrollment fees: $5 per unit, $50 for 12 units and $100 for annual, full-time students
  • 1992 – Library expansion enlarges the facility from 22,000 square feet to more than 40,000
  • 1994 – New library renamed the Wilford Michael Library and Learning Resource Center
  • 1995 – Student Center and Food Court remodeled
  • 1996 – Student Health Services facility opens
  • 1999 – ASCC underwrites the development of Falcon Square (formally called “The Quad”)
  • 1999 – Award-winning Teacher TRAC program was developed in partnership with California State University, Long Beach

Turn of the Century

  • March 2, 2004 – Residents pass a $210-million Measure CC bond measure to modernize the campus
  • May 17, 2006 – Science building opens as the college’s first completed bond project
  • 2007 – $3.5-million football field renovation
  • 2007 – Falcon football celebrates 50 Years
  • October 21, 2009 – New Aquatics Center opens
  • May 21, 2010 – Auto Partners Building opens
  • November 16, 2010 – Veterans Resource Center opens, and later moves to the Student Center Complex in 2014
  • October 5, 2011 – Physical Science & Technology Building opens
  • March 2, 2012 – Facilities and Purchasing Complex opens
  • April 12, 2012 – Inaugural Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
  • November 6, 2012 – Residents approve a $350-million Measure G bond to continue campus renovations 
  • March 8, 2013 – Falcon Gymnasium opens
  • July 16, 2014 – Liberal Arts/DSP&S building opens
  • February 4, 2015 – Child Development Center opens
  • September 17, 2015 – Cerritos College celebrates 60 years
  • October 7, 2015 – Newly renovated Culinary Arts facility opens
  • February 15, 2017 – Fine Arts and Math/CIS Buildings opens
  • August 30, 2017 – Cerritos College La Mirada opens at the Norwalk/La Mirada Adult School

OUR PRESIDENTS/SUPERINTENDENTS

Dr. Ralph F. Burnight

July 1, 1955 – June 30, 1962

Dr. Jack W. Mears

July 1, 1962 – June 30, 1969

Dr. Siegfried Ringwald

July 1, 1969 – June 30, 1973

Dr. Wilford Michael

July 1, 1973 – December 31, 1986

Dr. Ernest A. Martinez

January 13, 1987 – July 3, 1992

Dr. Walter C. Magnuson (Interim)

July 4, 1992 – June 30, 1993

Dr. Fred Gaskin

July 1, 1993 – June 30, 2000

Dr. Morgan Lynn (Interim)

May 15, 2000 – June 1, 2001

Dr. Jane M. Harmon

June 1, 2001 – June 30, 2002

John A. Grindel (Interim)

July 1, 2002 – July 12, 2004

Dr. Noelia Vela

July 12, 2004 – July 20, 2008

William C. Farmer, Jr. (Acting)

July 21, 2008 – September 13, 2009

Dr. Linda L. Lacy

September 14, 2009 – June 30, 2015

Dr. Jose. L. Fierro

July 6, 2015 - Present

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