REDLANDS COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Originally known as El Reno Junior College, Redlands Community College was established by an act of the El Reno Board of Education in the summer of 1938 and opened its doors in September. El Reno High School graduates' parents signed a petition to establish the facility. Founders emphasized the importance of providing an opportunity for local students to continue their education. Concerned with community welfare, the institution sought to offer educational and community-service programs intended to improve the intellectual, physical, economic, political, and moral environment of society.
In 1938 the State Junior College Committee, Oklahoma University, and Oklahoma State University accredited the college for one year of higher education. The next year El Reno Junior College received accreditation as a two-year institution. Paul R. Taylor, president, Walter P. March, vice president, and Ray Porter, dean, served on the first governing body. Fifty-four students enrolled the first year, with eight students in the first graduating class in 1940. From 1938 to 1966 classes met in the basement of the El Reno High School.
Early El Reno Junior College publications included a yearly bulletin and an annual. Published in 1938 and named the Collegian, this first yearbook gave El Reno Junior College the distinction of being the only Oklahoma municipal junior college to publish an annual. From 1940 to 1941, in cooperation with the U.S. Army Air Corps, the El Reno school provided civilian pilot training. Courses in aircraft and engine mechanics were offered in 1946 and 1947 at El Reno's Mustang Field in a subsidiary school known as the Midwest School of Aeronautics.
In 1971 a new state law allowed a public school district to encompass a junior college. The electorate of the El Reno Public School District voted to establish one under the governance of a new, governor-appointed El Reno Junior College Board of Trustees. In March 1973 the facility was granted correspondent status with the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, and on July 1, 1973, this status was changed to candidate for accreditation. In 1974 legislation was passed, establishing the college as a full member of the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education.
In early 1966 the school had moved into separate quarters at Rogers and Bickford streets, where the former post office building had been remodeled to accommodate an expanding enrollment in day and evening classes. In 1971 the institution undertook the first phase of construction on its new site north of Interstate 40 at 1300 South Country Club Road in El Reno. Over the years the campus has grown to include seven major building complexes, comprising twelve functional centers, situated on thirty-seven acres, with three outlying sites. On September 1, 1991, in recognition of the college's changing role, the name was officially changed to Redlands Community College. At the turn of the twenty-first century, it offered sixty associate degree programs to 1,306 students.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 26 October 1958 and 18 February 1991. Frank A. Balyeat, "Junior Colleges in Oklahoma," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 26 (Spring 1948). "Redlands Community College," College Archives, Redlands Community College, El Reno, Oklahoma.
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