Citizens of Dallas County always have supported DCCCD with funding and human resources. The colleges have become an important asset to students and members of the community, and their investment in the district has paid dividends in economic development, workforce training and undergraduate education.
Fifty years ago, a visionary Board of Trustees – whose members included Dallas luminaries such as R.L. Thornton II, Mrs. Margaret McDermott and DCCCD’s founding chancellor, Dr. Bill J. Priest – set an ambitious goal. They wanted to create the best community college district in the United States.
They, and numerous other Dallas County civic leaders who supported their efforts, were dedicated to providing citizens with access to quality education that was both convenient and affordable. Thanks to their determination and hard work, Dallas citizens created the Dallas County Community College District in 1965, and El Centro College subsequently opened in 1966.
The seven colleges and five community campuses of DCCCD enroll a total of almost 80,000 credit and 17,000 continuing education students each semester. The DCCCD system's enrollment ranks among the largest community colleges in Texas; tuition rates remain among the most affordable, compared to the statewide average. Five decades of growth and progress are a credit to the vision of Dallas-area citizens.
Events in DCCCD’s History
Dallas County voters created the Dallas County Junior College District and approved a $41.5 million bond issue to finance it.
El Centro College began serving students in downtown Dallas.
Eastfield College in Mesquite and Mountain View College in southwest Dallas enrolled their first students.
Richland College opened in north Dallas.
An additional $85 million in bonds supported DCCCD’s expansion, and construction began on three more colleges. Cedar Valley College in Lancaster and North Lake College in Irving opened.
Brookhaven College in Farmers Branch enrolled its first students.
The Bill J. Priest Institute for Economic Development (now the Bill J. Priest Campus of El Centro College) opened south of downtown Dallas, serving individuals and businesses of all sizes with training programs customized to meet their needs.
The R. Jan LeCroy Center for Educational Telecommunications opened. The LeCroy Center is one of the largest producers of distance learning courses in the nation.
The colleges of DCCCD welcomed their first class of 693 students into the Rising Star program.
DCCCD appointed the district’s first Hispanic chancellor, Dr. Jesus Carreon.
Voters overwhelmingly approved a $450 million bond package that provided new facilities for all seven colleges and created five new community education campuses designed to provide higher education opportunities for under-served or fast-growing areas in Dallas County.
Richland College became the first community college in the United States to receive the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.
DCCCD welcomed its first African-American chancellor, Dr. Wright Lassiter Jr., who previously had served as president of El Centro College for 20 years.
Late in the year, DCCCD’s administrative offices moved from 701 Elm St. to renovated historic facilities at 1601 S. Lamar St. in south Dallas.
The completion of 28 new buildings, including five community education campuses, signaled the close of the bond program approved by voters in 2004.
The Dallas TeleCollege became Dallas Colleges Online.
Dr. Joe D. May was chosen by the DCCCD's Board of Trustees as the district's seventh chancellor, bringing his enthusiasm for jobs, workforce training, and degree and certificate completion to DCCCD. The district also became part of the national Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program, delivering education modules to business entrepreneurs through Bill J. Priest Campus of El Centro College. The Bill J. Priest institute celebrated 25 years of service to the business community in 2014 as well.