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The College's History and Strengths

The College's History and Strengths

On June 30, 1946, the South Bay community voted by an overwhelming margin of 10 to 1 to create El Camino Junior College (ECJC). From its modest beginning with 450 students and a handful of programs housed temporarily in repurposed World War II army barracks, the College has expanded to 34,500 students, 963 instructors, and almost 200 certificate and degree programs. In 2018-19 the college awarded 3,700 degrees and certificates. Over the past 74 years, the College has earned the community’s consistent and enduring support by developing strong ties to the community and establishing a tradition of instructional excellence, comprehensive educational offerings, and fiscal stability. 

Since its founding, El Camino College presidents have emphasized growth and excellence built upon a tradition of fiscal stability. The first president, Forrest G. Murdock (1947-1958), oversaw a period of tremendous growth that led to the construction of an expansive campus of modern buildings – all without incurring debt. This remarkable feat gave the College a fiscal stability envied by other districts. With the later additions of Marsee Auditorium and Schauerman Library, this infrastructure served the College and its community for over 50 years. The District obtained voter approval for two facility bond measures totaling $744,000,000. Situated on a beautiful and spacious 126-acre campus, with general obligation bond measures passed in 2002 and 2012, the College has undergone a substantial transformation campus-wide. Over the years, capital construction projects, have strengthened El Camino College as a premier institution for teaching and learning with substantial construction projects still to come. 

With generous fiscal support from the community, the College has upgraded classroom facilities, modernized instructional equipment, and embarked on multiple new constructions and renovations that have modernized the face of the campus. New construction includes large parking structures, a stadium, new athletic facilities, an administration building, multiple new classroom buildings, a new gym, and a pool classroom building. A construction management firm has been selected for the new behavioral sciences and art complex buildings (anticipated completion by Fall 2022). Additionally, the College received state funding for a new music building with the design phase to begin Spring 2021. The major construction projects across campus are creating cutting-edge learning environments for students. With a balanced budget and a wide range of educational offerings, the College continues to enjoy the support of the South Bay community. 

Located in Los Angeles County, just minutes from South Bay beaches, El Camino College is surrounded by high-tech industries including aerospace, logistics, multimedia and service corporations, presenting opportunities for strategic partnerships that will enhance learning and employment outcomes for students. The College is concentrating its efforts to improve student success, develop clear academic and career pathways, provide equitable learning opportunities, and develop programs that offer the career training necessary to meet the needs of the local economy.

In August 2006, the El Camino Community College District (ECCCD) reached out to support its neighbor, Compton Community College District (CCCD), in its quest to reestablish its accredited status. ECCCD partnered with CCCD for 13 years to support the required educational, institutional, and instructional improvements necessary to regain independent accreditation for Compton College. Compton College celebrated the culmination of years of work when it was reaccredited in 2019 and formally separated from ECCCD. 

In 2019, ECC staff, faculty, and students engaged in deep conversations about what ECC means to them. Out of this dialogue, the campus adopted the motto “Where you belong, where you succeed.” This phrase perfectly embodies the importance of helping all our students feel welcome and included at ECC, while helping them achieve their educational goals. With a vigorous commitment to equity, ECC faculty are participating in equity trainings and culturally responsive teaching workshops, while working alongside programs that support African Americans, LatinX, Pacific Islanders, veterans, and foster youth. 

El Camino College has a long history in Los Angeles County's South Bay communities. The College is a vibrant learning community that has served the communities of El Segundo, Hawthorne, Hermosa Beach, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lennox, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, and Torrance. As a comprehensive two-year college, the College provides access to excellent academic offerings, career and technical education programs, exceptional student services, new and technologically advanced classrooms, as well as tutoring and mentoring programs. Through the Honors Transfer Program, El Camino College transfers hundreds of students each year to four-year universities around the country. Top transfer institutions include UCLA, USC and UC Berkeley. El Camino College is regularly among the top three community colleges in Southern California for students admitted to UCLA via the Transfer Alliance Program. Students are also supported by an extensive scholarship program, with $1.4 million awarded annually. Most importantly, ECC students are achieving success in record numbers, with the attainment of degrees and certificates up a remarkable 54% in the last three years. From its modest beginnings 75 years ago, El Camino College has consistently provided a wide range of excellent programs to the South Bay community, while responsibly managing the money and resources entrusted to it. 

(The above section is primarily from the “El Camino Community College District 2020 ISER In Support of Accreditation”).

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