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OCCC Celebrates 40 Years of Education and Community Enrichment

    (Published: 09-17-2012)

OCCC Celebrates 40 Years

A staple in the Oklahoma City area, Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC), this September, will celebrate 40 years of educating students and providing community enrichment programs to Oklahoma City and surrounding residents.

Join the college community and OCCC alumni for a come and go reception, Tuesday, Sept. 25 from 1 to 3:30 p.m. in the General Dining Area of the College Union.


Then and Now

The location of OCCC, back in 1969, was merely nothing but a piece of prairie land in south Oklahoma City. Today, the college offers educational instruction at the Main Campus on May Avenue as well as two “extended” campus locations. Since opening in 1972, OCCC has added 13 buildings to the campus, and now covers approximately 148 acres, with nearly 962,000sq ft of building space. The latest addition, the 1000-seat Visual and Performing Arts Theater is set to be complete in the spring of 2013.

 During the 70’s

  • 1971 – In October, groundbreaking ceremonies were held on the 143-acre field that would become South Oklahoma City Junior College.  
  • 1972 – In January, construction began on the college. In September, 1,046 students started classes. 
  • 1973 – Construction began on the Main Building and the first graduation ceremony was held. Five students received their associate degrees. 
  • 1975 – The first school newspaper, the Pioneer was published.  
  • 1977 – The college was accredited by North Central Association of College and Schools. 
  • 1978 – The Career Learning and Math centers opened. 
  • 1979 – The first Arts Festival Oklahoma was held.


During the 80’s

  • 1980 – During the early 80s, the college experienced tremendous physical growth with the Arts and Humanities building and the High Tech building. 
  • 1983 – The college was renamed, Oklahoma City Community College. 
  • 1985 – 1987 – The Child development Center, College Union and Physical Plant were constructed. 
  • 1988 – Construction began on the Aquatic Center 
  • 1989 – The Aquatic Center served as the site of the U.S. Olympic Festival aquatic events.


During the 90s

  • 1991 – OCCC celebrated the opening of the School of Nursing and the Health Technologies Center, and the enclosure of the Aquatic Center. 
  • 1994 – OCCC broke ground on the Keith Leftwitch Memorial Library. 
  • 1996 – The Keith Leftwitch Memorial Library officially opened to students and the community. 
  • 1997 – OCCC offered its first online course. 
  • 1998 – A $500,000 economic development grant allowed OCCC to target advancements in the manufacturing and biotechnology fields. 
  • 1999 - The median age of students was 26, and more than 56 percent of students were women. Approximately 25 percent of the student body belonged to a minority group. And, about 66 percent of the nearly 10,000 students attended classes part-time. 


The New Century

  • 2005 – After serving more than 30 years, President Todd resigned his post. President Paul Sechrist was named to lead the college and remains its leader today. 
  • 2007 – OCCC began an historic expansion, adding three new buildings to the campus infrastructure including, the Robert P. Todd Science, Engineering and Math Center, the Health Professions Education Center, and the Visual and Performing Arts Center. 
  • 2009 – OCCC hit record enrollment during the fall semester with 14,000 students on campus 
  • 2010 – OCCC dedicated the new Family and Community Education (FACE) Center, home to Community Outreach and Education and the Child Development Center and Lab School. 
  • OCCC broke ground on the new, 1000-seat Visual and Performing Arts Theater, designed to host major cultural events. The theater will complete the architectural design of the OCCC Visual and Performing Arts Center.  
  • 2012 – OCCC hosted the grand opening for the Capital Hill Center, increasing access to educational programs in information technology, job readiness and English literacy for families throughout south Oklahoma City.


Extended Campus Locations – FACE Center and Capitol Hill Center

Formerly John Glenn Elementary School, the OCCC Family and Community Education (FACE) Center, located north of the main campus on 6500 S. Land Avenue, houses the OCCC Community Outreach and Education department, providing non-credit courses including free adult basic education classes that assist a number of community members in attaining their General Equivalency Diploma (GED).

 Also within the FACE Center are the Child Development Center and Lab School, Summer Kids Camps, known as College for Kids and Teens, ACT Prep Workshops, adult continuing education classes, and English as a Second Language classes (ESL).

The Capitol Hill Center is located in the heart of Oklahoma City’s main Hispanic neighborhood, at 123 SW 25th Street, and provides adult education and job readiness needs of the community’s diverse members. At the Capitol Hill Center, community residents receive computer skills training, Internet training, assistance with resume writing and job interview preparation. The Capitol Hill Center also provides instruction in a bilingual Spanish-English format, and offers technology and education resources to Kindergarten through 12 grade students.

Record Enrollment

OCCC remains the fifth largest college in enrollment in the state behind the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, Tulsa University and the University of Central Oklahoma.

In 2009, OCCC hit a record in college enrollment with more than 14,000 students taking classes on campus and online. The increased enrollment numbers represented 18 percent more students attending OCCC over that of 2008. Since then the college has held steady at an enrollment of just below 14,000 each fall, and slightly less than that number each spring semester.

OCCC has grown to provide 60 degree programs and 30 certificates of mastery programs, and onaverage, graduates 1,200 students during commencement ceremonies. The majority of OCCC students graduate in the fields of nursing and business.


OCCC Aquatic Center

The OCCC Aquatic Center is the only venue of its kind in the state, and is home to multiple swimming and diving competitions including the 2012 NAIA Swimming and Diving Competition held in March. The Aquatic Center also offers water safety and exercise classes, swim and diving lessons, junior lifeguard lessons and games, recreation swim, scuba diving and more.

In 1989 the Aquatic Center served as the outdoor venue for all aquatic competitions during the U.S. Olympic Festival. In 1991, when the college completed constructions of the Health Technologies center, the Aquatic Center was enclosed – allowing swimming activities year-round.


Arts Festival Oklahoma

For 34 years, OCCC has celebrated the arts and welcomed the community to campus during the annual Arts Festival Oklahoma, held every Labor Day weekend. The festival is located on the northeast corner of the OCCC campus and features live entertainment during the daytime and evening hours, including the extraordinary Oklahoma City Philharmonic Orchestra. Over 150 visual artists showcase their talents each year including paintings, ceramics, drawings, jewelry, glass, fine crafts, photography, sculpture and wood art. During the three-day event, the festival draws 25,000 guests to the campus.


Now…The Future is Exciting

  •  The Higher Learning Commission recently awarded OCCC accreditation. 
  • The National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development honored eight OCCC professors for cutting-edge curriculum development. 
  • OCCC was named to President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for commitment to volunteering, service learning and civic engagement. 
  • The Student-Scheduled Child Care Program continues to meet the overwhelming need of OCCC students and parents of young children. 
  • OCCC Aquatic Center played host to the 2012 NAIA National Swimming and Diving Championships. 
  • The OCCC Leadership Development Institute graduated it first class in May 2011. 
  • OCCC offers new degree programs – Leisure Services Management and Speech Language Pathology Assistant. 
  • OCCC students turn foreign cities into classrooms with study abroad opportunities. 
  • The OCCC Cultural Arts Series will perform 14th season. 
  • OCCC has grown to serve more than 22,000 students each year. 
  • OCCC was recently named among the Top 50 fastest growing schools by Community College Week.  
  • Annually OCCC inducts outstanding alumni into the college Hall of Fame for career and civic achievements.


For 40 years, OCCC has focused its resources on its students, providing the best educational experience possible. OCCC is a great place to begin a college education, and for the next 40 years will boast of savings in tuition, a wide variety of majors and academic programs, qualified and accessible faculty, small class sizes, diversity, support and proven success.

 For more information about OCCC’s history and future, please call the OCCC Office of Marketing and Public Relations at (405) 682-1611, ext. 7248.