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South Orange County Community College District
A Historical Perspective

 

The South Orange County Community College District was founded on Valentine's Day, February 14, 1967. Voters approved by more than a two-to one-margin the formation of the 67th community college district in the state and the fourth in Orange County.
   
With the formation of the district, residents voted as their charter board: Alyn M. Brannon and Hans W. Vogel of Tustin; Louis J. Zitnick of Laguna Beach; Patrick J. Backus of Dana Point; and Michael T. Collins of Laguna Niguel. The first president-elect was Dr. Vogel who served four times as president during almost eight years on the board.
 
In the planning stages, the district was referred to as the South Coast Junior College District.  At its March 13, 1967 meeting, the board named the new district Saddleback Junior College District. In the photo above, Dr. Vogel is introducing then Governor Ronald Reagan at the dedication of Saddleback College. He was instrumental in securing the Governor's participation in the historical event. Saddleback College was officially named by action of the board on February 26, 1968. In June of that year, the board approved the Gaucho as mascot and school colors as cardinal and gold. The College welcomed its first students on September 23, 1968 at an interim site at 26522 Crown Valley Parkway in Mission Viejo.
   
On October 15, 1968, President Ronald Reagan, then Governor of California, assisted in the dedication of Saddleback College at a ceremony drawing more than 1,000 community members.  "We are here to dedicate something more than just another college; we are here to dedicate an institution of opportunity and fulfillment," said Governor Reagan.
   

Prior to the dedication, Governor Reagan met with Board of Trustees, from left to right: Allyn Brannon, Hans W. Vogel, Michael Collins, Patrick Backus, Louis Zitnik and Superintendent Fred Bremer.

   
In 1970, the new 200 acre permanent site for Saddleback College was dedicated at 28000 Marguerite Parkway.  The District's name was changed to Saddleback Community College District. In 1971, Saddleback College received accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. In 1972 the Board of Trustee's membership increased from five to seven members.
   

 

 

 

In 1973, the James B. Utt Memorial Library was dedicated in honor of Orange County's late U.S. Congressman Utt.

In 1997, Saddleback College District is renamed to South Orange County Community College District to more accurately reflect the service area which extends from Tustin to San Clemente and includes Saddleback College and Irvine Valley College.

 

On November 17, 2008, the Ronald Reagan Board of Trustees Room was dedicated to honor the former president who 40 years ago helped dedicate Saddleback College when he was the Governor of California. Located in the Health Sciences Building, Room 145 serves as both a location for board meetings and a classroom. Pictured from left to right: Trustee John S. Williams, Chancellor Raghu P. Mathur, Trustee Tom Fuentes, Trustee Nancy Padberg, Trustee Marcia Milchiker, Board President Donald P. Wagner, Trustee Bill Jay, and Trustee David B. Lang.