Fresno City College History

Fresno City College – A Little History

Fresno City College, California’s first community college, was founded in 1910, but we have to go back to 1907 when Mr. C. L. McLane (the superintendent of Fresno City Schools in those days) recognized and expressed the need for higher education for students from across the San Joaquin Valley. It is through McLane’s efforts that a few years later the area witnessed the founding of Fresno Junior College which also led to great sports opportunities for many students.

The school’s first class included twenty students and there were three teachers. It was the time of the old Fresno Traction Company that had just recently added a few new trolley lines to its downtown Fresno network and the first trees had just been planted in J. C. Forkner’s Fig Garden. Those were the days that Theodore Kearney was escorting Lilly Langtree to her show at Fresno’s old Barton Opera House.

The establishment of Fresno City College in 1910 ultimately changed education all across California. The school’s first campus was located on “O” Street, at the site of the former Fresno High School. In 1921, Fresno Junior College merged with the (as it was called in those days) Fresno Normal School, which later became Fresno State College and today is named California State University-Fresno to operate the Fresno Junior College at the same campus location as the 4-year school.

Fresno Junior College was continuing to grant Associate’s degrees and was offering a 2-year curriculum, yet its staff and campus were identical to those of the Fresno Normal School.

New laws that allowed local school districts to set up and operate junior colleges were introduced in 1948 and this resulted in Fresno City College returning to its initial “O” Street location that the school shared with the city’s Technical High School.

The Technical High School educational program was discontinued by 1950 and the school district started to look for another campus location. The Junior College District decided to acquire the University Avenue location from Fresno State College and in 1956, Fresno City College, in those days already famed for its Athletics Department, moved to the University Avenue location.

Fresno City College is a member of the California Community College system that has grown to more than 100 campuses with an enrollment of over 1.5 million students. Fresno City College’s rich and interesting history shows that the school has always been an continues to be a pioneer of new exciting developments that have positively influenced community college education in general and sports education in particular. Through the years, tens of thousands of local education professionals have worked hard to make the school a strong and viable educational institution.

FCC’s Old Administration Building

The old Administration Building is the original first classroom building on the site of the former location of Fresno State College, now named California State University-Fresno. The beautiful old building was on the FSC campus that was consisting of this building for lectures, McLane Hall, the University Library, and some technical buildings. The Old Administration Building and the Library building listed on the US Federal Historical Buildings List. To learn more about the actual situation at many California schools and colleges, click here.

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