History
The San Diego City College Story Book Front Cover Who we were

San Diego City College began in 1914 as an idea. It had no building or teachers of its own, but borrowed spaced in the local high school. San Diego was the fifth California city to start a junior college. At the April 14, 1914 Board of Education meeting, it unanimously agreed to establish a Junior College, the first in San Diego. A fifth year was added to the curriculum of the San Diego High School, and then a sixth year added in 1915. Opening day of classes on September 8, 1914 included 34 students and 4 faculty members.

In the 1920s, the college was part of the State Teachers College, and in the 1930s it leased buildings downtown and in Balboa Park during WWII. In 1946 it used the old Lincoln Elementary school for business classes. Finally, in 1956 it started to build a campus it could call its own.

From 500 students in 1925, to 11,000 students in the late 50s, City College is expected to expand to 25,000 within the decade. The campus has grown from 3.35 acres to 60 acres, nearly 1/5 of the downtown San Diego footprint.

The San Diego City College Story

Books are sold at the City College Bookstore, online, and at Centennial events.

We want to share our Centennial year, “Inspiring Change: Honoring the Past ▪ Building the Future”, with our students, alumni and community.

For more than a year, historian Dr. Steven Schoenherr has been researching the 100-year history of the college. Beginning with the 1800s, Dr. Schoenherr has created The San Diego City College Story: A Centennial History, a memorable collective of people, places and faces that bring to life the college’s rich history. The City College Story is a full-color, commemorative table top book that will be a keepsake for years to come.

Dr. Schoenherr's most recent book, The Chula Vista Centennial: a Century of People and Progress, won three nationally recognized awards, including a book of the year from the San Diego Book Award Association.

Pre-order your copy today of this limited print edition.

Below is a sneak peek at each of the Centennial book chapters, as written in the The San Diego City College Story!

Historical Timeline
Video history


Historical album

Archival photo collection courtesy of SDCC Archives, President's Office Archive, Legend yearbook, Fortknightly newspaper, The San Diego Union, Petrich History Room, San Diego History Center, San Diego Air and Space Museum, San Diego Public Library, and Steven Schoenherr

Leaving a legacy

San Diego City College is proud of its many accomplished alumni. Just like the college acts as an Agent of Change in the lives of students, our students serve as Agents of Change in the community. The success stories are all different but the inspiration remains the same for all: San Diego City College.

City achievers

Visit our current Awards and Accomplishments page
to learn more about the sucess and achievements
of our current students.

You can also visit the San Diego City College YouTube channel to learn more about our current programs and events.