PCC was founded in 1924 with a student enrollment of 267. Created in response to the community’s need for higher education facilities, Pasadena Junior College was first established on the Pasadena High School campus. It was one of the earliest junior colleges in the Southwest United States. Its faculty, graduates, and former students, now numbering in the hundreds of thousands, have contributed greatly to business, education, industry, the professions, and most other aspects of American society. 

Major Milestones


The original campus was eighteen acres and acquired for the construction of a new campus for Pasadena High School. The property is bounded on the north by Colorado Boulevard, the east by Sierra Bonita Avenue, the south by Blanche Street (later Del Mar) and the west by Hill Avenue. The new educational facility begins to take shape in 1912.


Campus construction is complete. Costing $632,000 to build, Pasadena High School is opened in 1913 with an enrollment of 1,700 students.


In response to the community’s need for higher education facilities, Pasadena Junior College is established on the Pasadena High School campus. It was one of the earliest junior colleges in the Southwest United States. William Ewing is named the first president (principal) of the college.


John Harbeson becomes the second president of PCC.  He serves as president until 1950, becoming the school’s longest serving principal (president).


The Pasadena’s Board of Education adopted the 6-­4-­4 system. This plan restructured the city’s school system and established a four-­year plan at the Colorado campus, grades eleven through fourteen. Under the new restructuring, the facility changes its name from Pasadena High School to Pasadena Junior College and the old Pirate mascot becomes the Bulldog.


The band begins to lead the Rose Parade as well as play during the Rose Bowl football game. By 1939, it officially becomes known as the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Band.


Albert Einstein is enthusiastically welcomed by some 8,000 people, including students from the city schools and the Junior College, when he visits to dedicate the astronomy observatory in February 1931.


The three main Pasadena Junior College buildings, originally named for Horace Mann, Jane Addams, and Louis Agassiz, were demolished to create safer, earthquake-resistant buildings. Fifty steam­ heated tents were erected to house the classes formerly held in the Horace Mann Building. They became known as “Tent City.” Classes were conducted in Tent City for three long, long years, during which time both students and teachers experienced many hardships. The new structures are renamed the C, D, and E buildings, respectively.


From 1936 to19­38, the Robinson brothers came and conquered the Bulldog sports world with incredible feats and nationally recognized performances.


John Muir had been operating primarily as a vocational four-year high school. Due to their lack of enrollment and PJC’s all-time high in enrollment, the schools are combined to form one institution located on two campuses.


The new radio studio affords students greater opportunities for creative expression and provides an additional means for advertising the school and its activities to the community.


William Langsdorf becomes the first PCC alumnus to serve as college principal. His tenure would go on to last for nine years.


The program is one of only five pilot programs in the nation to address the need for qualified nurses.


Pasadena High School continues to share the PCC campus until their new high school campus in east Pasadena was completed in 1960.


During football season, a new mascot, the Lancer, is presented. Pasadena High school stays as the bulldog.


Catherine Robbins, a PCC faculty member since 1923, becomes one of a handful of female community college presidents in the nation at that time. Robbins serves as the college's 4th president until 1965.


Armen Sarafian serves as PCC's 5th president until 1976.


Approved by voters on April 26, 1966, the newly formed district encompasses the school districts of Pasadena, Arcadia, La Cañada, San Marino,Temple City and South Pasadena. With this comes the first board of seven trustees and the college president is changed to the superintendent-president.


Sierra Bonita Avenue is closed south of Colorado Blvd., and Bonnie Avenue is widened to open new parking areas.


E. Howard Floyd began at PCC in 1930 as a faculty member in the math department since 1930. He served as the college vice-president for a number of years prior to taking over as the 6th Superintendent-President of the college.


Richard Meyers, the schools 7th president, serves as superintendent-president until 1983. His tenure included 5 of the school’s most difficult years due to major cuts to state funding (a result of the passing of the state property tax relief measure, Proposition 13). In order to balance the college budget, instructional programs had to be cut, and many faculty and staff positions were eliminated.


The PCC Foundation is founded non-profit, charitable, public-benefit corporation. It's goal is to raise private funds to make possible those projects for which public funds are limited or not available. Today, the Foundation continues to raise money for t major capital projects, equipment to ensure technological excellence, student programs, faculty grants, and student scholarships.


John Casey serves as the school's 8th president from 1983 to 1987.


result of the Community College Reform Act of 1985, PCC’s College Coordinating Council is created to provide a forum to which any individual or group from the college community could bring a college­ related issue for official consideration and resolution.


Jack Scott serves as the 9th PCC Superintendent-President from 1987 thru 1995. During his tenure he initiates a building master plan designed to refurbish the campus over a ten ­year period. After his presidency, Scott went on to become a California Senator.


The administration, faculty, staff and community contractors formulate a master rebuilding plan that anticipates college facilities requirements well into the 21st century. The cost of these improvements ultimately exceeded $100 million.


The Walter T. Shatford II Library, a three-story building that allocated 50,000 square feet to library functions, becomes the first new major building completed on campus in 20 years. The old library building is turned into the Student Services Center.


James Kossler started at PCC in 1988 as the school’s Vice-President. He serves as the school's 10th president for 12 years before announcing his retirement in 2007.


First established in 1979 as a community skills center, the Community Education Center is renamed and given a permanent location on Foothill Blvd. in east Pasadena. Its doors open in August of 1996.


After consultation with faculty, students, staff, and managers, the Board of Trustees approved a Shared Governance policy in an on-going effort to encourage consultation, collegiality, and transparency amongst the college.


The old gymnasium, which was used for nearly 70 years, is replaced by the two-story, 65,000 square foot Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium. Included in the facility is the Sports Hall of Fame, honoring outstanding athletes and coaches of PHS, PJC and PCC.


Paulette Perfumo, PCC's 11th President, serves as president from 2007 to 2009. Beyond school leadership, Perfumo is as an advocate for PCC and all California community colleges with both the California Legislature and Congress.


Lisa Sugimoto started at PCC in 1976 as a part-time staff member and became a counselor in 1977. She served as interim President of the school until 2010.


Mark Rocha, PCC’s 13th Superintendent-President, leads the school for 4 years before retiring in 2014.


PCC at Rosemead, a full service educational center, is opened to give greater access of higher education to diverse communities within the district. It offers general education credit courses leading to Degrees or Transfer, noncredit courses


Funded by the Measure P Bond, the Center for the Arts is 87,000 square feet with 14 classrooms and 3 performance spaces: the Westerbeck Recital Hall, the Boone Family Art Gallery, and the Center for the Arts Theatre.


Following Dr. Rocha's retirement, Senior Vice-President/Assistant Superintendent, Robert Miller, is appointed as the 14th president of the school.


From 2012 to 2014, the college developed a new Educational Master Plan that includes race-conscious language, and equity is positioned as a first priority of the college


Dr. Rajen Vurdien, started at PCC in July 2015, becoming the school's 15th president. 


Pasadena City College was recognized On March 14, 2017 in Washington, D.C., as one of ten finalists for the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s pre-eminent recognition of high achievement and performance in America’s community colleges. PCC was selected from 1,000 public community colleges nationwide.


For the second time in a row, Pasadena City College is selected as one of 10 finalists for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. Awarded every two years since 2011, the Prize recognizes institutions that achieve high and improving student outcomes, selected from over 1,000 community colleges nationwide. 


Following Dr. Vurdien's retirement, Dr. Erika Endrijonas starts at PCC in January 2019, becoming the school's 16th president. 


Dr. José A. Gómez was confirmed as interim superintendent/president of Pasadena City College on July 19, 2023

PCC's 75th Anniversary History Book