By Dr. Francisco C. Rodriguez
Dear MiraCosta College friends and colleagues,
The more things change, the more they stay the same. And that certainly is true when it comes to MiraCosta College. Founded 80 years ago as Oceanside-Carlsbad Junior College (OCJC) during the Great Depression, the college was established as a place where local students could complete a quality higher education without leaving home.
“I was delighted when the junior college opened,” said 97-year-old Charles Ernst, who was among the first students to enroll and graduate from the new school. “When OCJC was formed, it made going to college immediately affordable.”
Much has changed since 1934, when TWA made its first commercial flight and a loaf of bread cost about 8 cents. But eight decades later, MiraCosta College continues to provide opportunities for anyone to secure a higher education—whether at the San Elijo or Oceanside campuses, the bustling Community Learning Center in Oceanside, or through online education.
When we began our journey in a wing at Oceanside High School, the college had but 122 students and 20 faculty members.
In 1964, we moved to our current 121-acre hilltop location in Oceanside and renamed the college MiraCosta. In 1988, we opened the San Elijo Campus in Cardiff. A few years later, the Adult Learning Center opened its doors. Later dubbed the Community Learning Center, it is now located on Mission Avenue in downtown Oceanside.
Today, our enrollment has ballooned to nearly 15,000 credit students with an additional 5,000 noncredit and fee-based students, and we continue to meet the needs of a growing community. Last year, we added a much-needed, high-tech and "green" science laboratory at the Oceanside Campus and began building a new science lab at the San Elijo Campus that will be open in time for the fall 2014 semester. Meanwhile, more students are taking online courses than ever before, and on-campus offerings have expanded to include more core classes on Fridays and Saturdays. And we remain dedicated to enrolling and supporting the men and women who have protected our country by serving in the military. In fact, the MiraCosta College student-veteran population has nearly doubled since 2008.
The college also continues to partner with local elementary, middle and high schools. In 2011, MiraCosta College received a seven-year, $7 million GEAR UP grant, which provides multiple services to ensure middle and high school students and their families are prepared for a higher education and career choices. In addition, we are now partnering with the Carlsbad Unified School District to offer MiraCosta College classes at the new Sage Creek High School, enabling high school kids to take college classes, without having to pay an enrollment fee.
Underscoring our dedication to serving the needs of local workers and employers, the US Department of Labor last fall awarded MiraCosta College a $2.75 million federal grant to start a Technology Career Institute, a comprehensive training facility that will prepare participants—including military veterans and the unemployed—for high-skilled careers in the manufacturing and technology industries.
Over the past 80 years, hundreds of thousands of students have passed through MiraCosta College and contributed to our tradition of strengthening the intellectual, economic, social and cultural life of the community. Graduates are responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars going into the local economy. And by expanding the state’s economic base through their higher incomes, combined with the ripple effects of the goods and services they produce, our students contribute an estimated $74.1 million in taxable income to the California economy every year.
MiraCosta College is about creating success through our students, alumni and communities. It is about preparing students not only to transfer to the best four-year colleges and universities in the country, but to providing people the skills needed to compete and thrive in a rapidly changing economy.
MiraCosta College owes its success to the strong foundation built over time, and with your support MiraCosta College will continue to thrive over the next 80 years.
As always, thank you for your interest in our college.
Francisco C. Rodriguez, Ph.D.
Campus photos, top to bottom: Oceanside-Carlsbad Junior College, located in one wing of Oceanside High School circa 1934; Building 4900--the science lab at the Oceanside Campus; the San Elijo Campus in Cardiff; and the Community Learning Center in downtown Oceanside.
Interested in learning more about MiraCosta College history? Check out our 80th anniversary video, request a magazine be mailed to your home, or read the full college history online.