- Old friends are best. John Selden
Graduate from the Fresno City College
The year was 1910. The old Fresno Traction Company had just added two new trolley lines in downtown Fresno. J. C. Forkner was just beginning to plant the first trees in Fig Garden. And it hadn’t been too long since Theodore Kearney had escorted Lilly Langtree to her performance at the city’s old Barton Opera House.
1910 was also the year Fresno City College, California’s first community college, was established, ultimately changing education in California.
The college’s history began in 1907 when C. L. McLane, then superintendent of schools for the city of Fresno, recognized the need for college instruction for San Joaquin Valley students. Largely through McLane’s efforts, Fresno Junior College was established. The first class consisted of 20 students and three instructors.
The campus was originally located at the former Fresno High School campus on “O” Street. In 1921 Fresno Junior College combined with the then Fresno Normal School, later Fresno State College and currently California State University, Fresno, to operate the junior college on the same campus as the four-year school. Fresno Junior College continued to grant associate degrees and offer a two-year curriculum, but its campus and staff were identical with those of the normal school. In 1948 new laws permitted local school districts to operate junior colleges, and Fresno City College returned to the “O” Street campus, which it shared with Fresno Technical High School. By 1950 the technical high school program had been phased out and the district began looking for another campus. The junior college district completed negotiations for the purchase of the University Avenue site from Fresno State College. By 1956 Fresno City College had moved to University Avenue.
The California Community College system has now grown to 109 campuses, enrolling approximately 1.5 million students. Fresno City College has built upon its rich history and gone on to pioneer many new developments in community college education. Thou-sands of local people have worked through the years to make Fresno City College a viable and strong educational institution.