This timeline is a window into the events that have helped shape Tacoma Community College. Discover the pictures, videos and words of those who have championed Tacoma, its Community and its College, for the last 50 years. Please share your stories and photographs by clicking on the ‘Share’ button in the menu.

60’s – 70’s


State Board of Education granted authorization for a new community college in Tacoma for the 1965-67 biennium. Read More

May 1964

Tom Ford was appointed TCC's first President. Read More

September 27, 1965

The first day of classes. Photo: Tacoma News Tribune Read More

Francie Messina Jordan - Beginnings 1965

I attended TCC when it opened in 1965 and received my AA in 1967...
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Construction of the Pearl A. Wanamaker Library (Bldg 7) and the Titan Physical Education Building (Bldg 20) completed. Read More

April 1966

Board of Trustees Created: Frank Cooper, John H. Binns, Charles Edmunds, Lewis Hatfield, and Mrs. Robert T. (Maxine) Myers. Read More

Diana Kuhr - University of Mildred 1967

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March 24, 1967

Community College Act of 1967 passed and community colleges were removed from school district control. Read More

Frances Bowman - Square Pancakes 1968

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Winter quarter, 1968

TCC was accredited by the Northwest Association of Secondary and Higher Schools (Photo of women at campus dedication reception). Read More

February 16, 1968

Dr. Tom Ford, President of Tacoma Community College was formally installed in office and the TCC campus formally dedicated. Read More

May 1, 1969

Students adopt new constitution. Read More

May 6, 1969

Black students present 11 Demands to TCC President. Read More

Rosemary Dye - Art 1970-1975

Photo: Rosemary Dye with bronze of her son and watercolor painting
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March 6, 1971

Men's basketball team wins state championship. Read More

October 4, 1973

TCC faculty goes on strike. Read More

June 3, 1975

Board of Trustees announce Dr. Larry Stevens selected as TCC president. Read More

Laura Kingsbury - TCC's Day Care 1978

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June 9, 1977

Gov. Dixy Lee Ray will speak at Commencement - Graduating 124 high school diplomas and 619 Assoc Degrees (160+ with honors) Read More

September 25, 1978

TCC offers classes at McChord AFB for first time. Read More

January 25, 1979

Ellen Pinto - TCC board of trustees chairperson - named President of the state trustees association for community colleges. Read More

80’s – 90’s

April 24, 1980

Final graduation for McNeil Island Federal Penitentiary - awarding 27 diplomas. Brings total of 210 academic and technical degrees awarded since start of program in 1967.

May 16, 1980

TCC bridge damaged in low-speed collision.

September 20, 1980

First continuing education classes offered at new Southeast College Center in Tacoma.

January 5, 1981

TCC opens new Downtown College Center.

September 12, 1981

Formal opening of Peninsula College Center (later renamed Gig Harbor campus).

April 29, 1983

Carleton Opgaard selected as President of TCC.

November 20, 1983

First Annual Tacoma-Pierce County Wine Festival. All proceeds benefit the TCC Scholarship Fund.

March 6, 1985

SPRUCE (Space Available to the Unemployed through College Education) program offering tuition waivers to the long-term unemployed begins.

December 5, 1988

New student center opens.


Ray Needham hired as president of TCC.

March 13, 1990

Official opening of the TCC Computer Center.

September 7, 1993

TCC Children's Center earns National Accreditation.

June 27, 1995

Grand Opening of Gig Harbor/Peninsula College Center.

December, 1996

TCC joins the World Wide Web. The website went live in late 1996.

May 8, 1997

Dr. Pamela J Transue named President of TCC.

00’s – Today

June-August 2003

First Annual Juried Local Art Exhibition displayed in TCC Art Gallery.

August 2005

Grand Opening of IT Building (Now Bldg 16) and ground-breaking on new Science Building.

September 2007

The science building opened on the south side of campus just prior to the start of the 2007 school year.

November 9, 2007

The Japanese Friendship Garden opens. It was designed and built with input from Japanese landscape architects from Tacoma sister city Kitakyushu, Japan, and through generous support of local donors.

October 21, 2008

Early Learning Center Grand Opening (Pamela Transue looks on while Annette Weyerhaeuser speaks at the podium).

June 21, 2010

Men of Distinction, a college preparation program designed specifically for young African American men, launches.

September 2010

TCC is ranked 17th among the community colleges in the country—and number one in Washington State by Washington Monthly, an independent DC social research magazine.

March 6, 2012

Men's Basketball team wins the NWAACC championship for the 7th time.

Spring 2013

Vicci Martinez Arts Scholarship for Women announced.

June, 2014

The TCC baseball team won 39 games in the 2014 season. More than any previous season in TCC history.

September 4, 2014

The H.C. Joe Harned Center for Health Careers opens to the public.

Winter 2015

500,000 students have walked through our doors.

March 6, 2015

Dr. Pamela Transue retires after serving as the President of TCC for 17 years.

March 9, 2015

Dr. Sheila Ruhland starts as the 8th President of Tacoma Community College.