Ask a fellow student if they have ever heard of the Oceanside-Carlsbad Jr. College. This question would probably be met by a resounding no, followed by a look of confusion, and leave the student wondering if there were another option besides Palomar or MiraCosta. That’s right readers, this was the fledgling name of our alma mater. MiraCosta’s heritage dates back to 1934, when the Oceanside-Carlsbad Union School district voted to establish a community college. They dedicated a wing of Oceanside high school to this new venture with the thought that Oceanside’s youth needed access to higher education without having to pack it up and leave our seaside home. On Sept. 3, 1934 the Oceanside-Carlsbad Junior College Department of Oceanside high school district (O-CJC) was opened in a wing of Oceanside High school. Under the leadership of Superintendent/Principal George R. McIntire, the O-CJC had a staff of 20 faculty members and taught 120 students. The courses were transferable to University, and vocational courses were offered as well to students who were only seeking to learn a trade. Within the first couple of years, the student body were already forming sports teams, a drama department, and the journalism class published a periodical called “O-C Campus” a joint college/high school paper that was the predecessor to which you read now. They differentiated themselves from the high school students by forming a sorority called “Coraphillia” and a fraternity called the “Keymen”.Within months, backed by 84 percent of votes, the district voted to keep this fledgling program alive and continue offering the Jr. College option to our local community. In the following April of 1935 The California State Board of Education acknowledged the Oceanside-Carlsbad Jr. College as a permanent establishment to the educational system.
In the early years of the 1940s attendance dropped to 55 students; mostly female due to the war effort and high male enlistment in the military. As a result of this, courses that had never been open to women were now available. Welding for instance, was now a possibility. Wartime images of women in the factory ala “Rosie the riveter,” put one of these females, Eleanor (King) Hagen in the headlines. Hagen was featured in The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Herald, and landed smack dab on the cover of the Aug. 11, 1941 edition of Newsweek. The latter part of the 1940s saw increasing numbers of students who were seeking to further their education enrolling in the O-CJC, and attending colleges in general due to the GI Bill. In response, a broader curriculum was offered and nighttime classes became available to students. This brought a increased attendance in the in the late forties.
The O-JCJ continued to grow during the economically prosperous decade of the 1950s, and the college was moved to a property next to Oceanside High School. In 1956 the Western Association of Schools and Colleges granted Oceanside-Carlsbad Jr. College its full accreditation status. By 1960, the administration began to look for a new location for the O-CJC due to the increase in the attendance at both Oceanside High and Oceanside-Carlsbad Jr. College. In 1960, the school district voted to have a separate Junior college district, and moved to the O-CJC to its new hilltop home purchased for $575,000. On Sept. 21, 1964, 1,790 students enrolled in both day and night time classes. John McDonald, who was also an alumni of O-CJC, became President/Superintendent that year and held that position up until his retirement in 1982. From being a small extension of Oceanside High, to its ocean view hilltop home, the college was recognizable as the MiraCosta we now call home.
Over the next couple decades, the college continued to grow and new buildings were built to accommodate new departments. The 1970s saw the construction of the women’s locker room, tennis courts, the theatre stagecraft building, the former music and arts buildings, and an auto shop for what is now the automotive department. In 1973 MiraCosta erected its most visible landmark, the clock tower. The tower was a donation by Dana and Eleanor Blayne and was donated in memory of their son who had been killed in France during the second world war.
Sometime in the early 90s Blayne tower was ripped out of Fountain Plaza and moved to the East parking lot for some god-awful cell tower disguised as a fucking timepiece. The soul was ripped from the campus that day. Now we have a giant brick skyblock that students think is a part of our history.
MiraCosta continued to expanding through the 1970s and 80s. During the eighties we saw the construction begin on the ocean view Student Center and cafeteria (finished in 1990), we broke ground on the San Elijo campus in Cardiff. The San Elijo campus was built as our extension to the south on the scenic hillside of the San Elijo lagoon. Although there was some red tape that had to be cut through to get construction underway, southern extension was finished in 1988.
From the nineties into the millennium, MCC has continued to grow with the changing times and stays on the vertex of education technology. In the early nineties the Library/Hub was built as a multipurpose educational support center, library, and open computer lab for student use. During this period MCC designed its first fiber-based network connecting its own network to the world wide web. In 2000, MiraCosta augmented once again, constructing the Mission Ave. location for the Adult Learning Center, giving the Adult Diploma and other community programs a place to call their own. MCC continues to grow along with our dramatically changing world and offers programs and services such as: financial aid, student academic support, writing/math centers, cooperative work experience program, and numerous other help desks and educational services that are available to students to reach their next desired education or certificate goals. From 1943 to present day MCC has been an integral pit-stop on life’s journey for many. From its humble grassroots beginning in a wing Oceanside High, to the bustling community college of present day, MiraCosta continues to be a home to students and staff, and a cultural landmark in our coastal communities.