College History

photograph of Belle Cooledge “Admit that you don’t know all the answers and recognize that everyone has limitations. Practice tolerance. Avoid prejudices.” — Belle Cooledge

Founded in 1916 as a department of Sacramento High School, Sacramento City College is the seventh oldest public community college in California and the oldest institution of higher learning in Sacramento.

Sacramento City College has a proud history as a pioneer in the region for diversity, quality education, and community partnership. Rare for its time, SCC was founded by a woman (Belle Cooledge) and with an all female class as its first graduates, the college began with the spirit of inclusion at its very heart. First known as Sacramento Junior College, Cooledge founded the college to provide a safe, welcoming place for students to learn the basics for a college education, and to be a gathering spot for extra-curricular activities that would bring the community together. With this founding principle, Sacramento Junior College opened in 1916 on the top floor of Sacramento High School with 46 students and 16 part-time instructors.

The college eventually gained its own campus at the corner of Sutterville and Freeport where it opened its doors to students in 1926. The campus consisted of just two buildings at the time.

Thirty-eight years later, as a result of a March 17, 1964 election, Sacramento City College separated from the Sacramento City Unified School District to join the newly organized Los Rios Junior College District which assumed the operation of American River College and Sacramento City College. In 1970 the newly renamed Los Rios Community College District opened a third campus, Cosumnes River College. Folsom Lake College became the fourth fully accredited college in the District in 2003.

SCC has grown in leaps and bounds in many ways. Now, nearly 100 years later, SCC has certainly evolved with the times, but at its heart the college vision remains the same: to create a learning community that celebrates diversity, nurtures personal growth, and inspires academic and economic leadership.