Its been 100 years since Phoenix College opened its doors. We spoke with Deborah Spotts, the Development Director of Institutional Advancement at Phoenix College about the institution’s history.
Phoenix College came to be after the Phoenix Union school district partnered with the University of Arizona to offer a college curriculum to its students. In 1920, Phoenix College opened its doors with an inaugural class of 18 students.
In its early years, Phoenix College’s evening classes had a lot of veterans enrolled. Enrollment of veterans also bumped up when the G.I. Bill was signed. “Phoenix College has a long history of serving veterans,” Spotts said.
Phoenix College is home to many career programs. The school started a civilian training program in 1939, right before World War 2. In partnership with Sky Harbor airport, their pilots were able to practice in their airport’s fields. In 1959, the 2-year nursing program was established. In 1968, the dental hygiene program was established.
In the late 1970s, Phoenix College had computerized instruction for the first time.
In order to commemorate their centennial academic year during this time, a lot of their events had to be done virtually. However, Spotts says they have gone well. A book detailing the 100 year legacy of Phoenix College was also made available. It’s called ‘Our Past. Your Future. The History of Phoenix College’ and was written by alumna Stella Pope Duarte.
In a typical year, Phoenix College has around 12,000 students enrolled. Due to the pandemic, enrollment has been down. However, Spotts expects enrollment to be back up in the fall.