Happy 95th Birthday Hartnell College!

Publish Date: 
Aug 18, 2015

Happy 95th Birthday Hartnell!

SALINAS, Calif. – Today it is great cause for celebration for the Hartnell Community College District as we celebrate the birth of a great institution that has transformed the lives of thousands through educational opportunities.

It was on August 18, 1920 that the Salinas Junior College (SJC) opened its doors as California’s 13th junior college serving 28 students, according to the local newspaper, The Battery. Salinas High School principal E.L. Van Dellen was the main promoter. 

The Salinas Daily Index said, “The junior college is no longer an experiment; it has been successfully conducted in many communities in California and other states and is part of a nationwide movement to give an equal opportunity for education to all the children of all the people.”

"We are all proud to be a part of a higher education institution that has stood the test of time for 95 years to become a premier community college recognized for the achievements of its students, innovation, quality, and effectiveness,” expressed Superintendent/President, Dr. Willard Lewallen.  “Hartnell College has a history of success and a future with unlimited possibilities."

In 1948, SJC was renamed Hartnell College linking it to William Edward Hartnell, who is credited for bringing the first educational institution to California in 1834, El Colegio de Hartnell (which translates Hartnell’s School). In 1949, it became what it is today, Hartnell Community College District with the goal to serve more students in a larger span.

“For 95 years, Hartnell College has been actively engaged in ensuring that students have the opportunity and support to fulfill their dreams. During this time, the college has gone through various chapters and over the years many stories have unfolded,” said Board of Trustees President, Erica Padilla-Chávez.  “From the student who wanted to take a PE class to the student who returned to complete their AA degree in their 7th decade of life, Hartnell has been here to support one and all, and it will continue to do so.”

A community celebration is forthcoming.  For more about our history, visit the following link:


Hartnell Community College District

The Hartnell CCD serves over 16,000 students annually through its main campus in Salinas, the Alisal Campus in East Salinas, the King City Education Center, and various outreach learning centers throughout the Salinas Valley. Hartnell College, a Hispanic Serving Institution, provides workforce training, basic skills courses, and prepares students for transfer to four-year colleges and universities. Hartnell College is recognized for its innovative public and private partnerships that support world class STEM education, career technical education, fine and performing arts, humanities, and athletics. We are growing leaders through opportunity, engagement, and achievement. For more about Hartnell CCD, visit www.hartnell.edu.