History of Umpqua Community College

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In the late 1950s, interested community members formed a committee, sponsored by the American Association of University Women, to explore the idea of establishing a community college in Douglas County. After visiting other campuses, the group wrote a report, and in 1960 the Chamber of Commerce formed an Education Committee with Wayne Crooch as its chair. In February 1960, the Roseburg School Board was asked to approve a program of lower-division college courses. The request was approved and an agreement was established with Southern Oregon College (now Southern Oregon University) and the Oregon University System. Harry Jacoby, assistant Superintendent of the Roseburg School District, was named coordinator of the project. The first college courses were offered in 1961 in rented facilities in Roseburg.

After meeting the legal requirements for forming a college district, the Oregon State Board of Higher Education ordered the establishment of the proposed district on December 11, 1962. Voters supported formation of the district on March 30, 1964. The same election also established the first seven-member board of directors. At the first board meeting on April 2, 1964, Ralph Snyder was appointed registrar and Harry Jacoby was hired as the first president of the college.

The land for the campus, 98.5 acres (39.9 ha) of pasture land along a bend in the North Umpqua River, was donated by Elton and Ruth Jackson. The Board accepted the site in February 1965. College construction was funded by a serial levy passed in May 1965 and a bond measure passed in 1968. Additional financing came from interest earnings, state funding, and federal grants. Classes were first held during "Phase I" of the new campus in Fall 1967.

The Athletics department was established in 1967-68 and joined the Oregon Community College Athletic Association (now the Northwest Athletic Conference or NWAC) for competition with its first sport, men’s basketball, in 1969-70. Today Athletics offers baseball, men's and women’s basketball, cross-country, eSports, obstacle course racing (the only junior college to offer scholarship competition in obstacle course racing), women’s soccer, track and field, women’s volleyball, and men’s and women's wrestling.​​

Other Athletics Highlights

  • about-ucc-historicalWomen’s basketball established in 1973-74, has obtained multiple NWAC conference championships and high tournament placements, and includes former player Sarona Snuka, currently wrestling for WWE as Tamina amongst the team’s alumni.
  • The Champion Carwash Baseball Field was designed and built in 1958 and in 2017 the field was fitted with state-of-the-art artificial turf. The UCC Baseball program returned in 2020.
  • Track & Field was brought back in 2017. Included in their roster is current student Zach Holland, who holds the national junior college record in men’s javelin and ranks 4th overall in the United States.

UCC experienced expansive growth through the 1969-1982 as Phases II-IV of campus construction was completed adding eight new buildings to the previous four including; Lockwood Hall, Campus Center, PE Complex and Pool, and the 1,010 seat Jacoby Auditorium.

On September 13, 1985, UCC dedicated the Woolley Center to Harold Woolley to expand the college’s offering to include Adult Basic Skills, English Language Acquisition, and GED courses.

In September 2010, UCC began construction on its Viticulture education and event center. Completed in 2012, the 22,000 square-foot building was named the Danny Lang Teaching, Learning, and Event Center. Inside the building, courses and the art of vinification are provided by The Southern Oregon Wine Institute (SOWI).

about-ucc-historicalUCC’s campus added the Bonnie J. Ford Health, Nursing & Science Center in September of 2016. The 35,000 square foot center replaced UCC’s decades old Science building (now the Community and Workforce Training building), features state of the art labs and classrooms including industry standard simulation floors to give UCC’s Nursing and Dental Assisting students the closest to on-the-job experience possible.

UCC houses an observatory on campus. The Paul Morgan Observatory was designed and built by UCC professor Dr. Paul Morgan in 2016 as part of the beginning astronomy program and community outreach. It provides onsite and online viewings of the Sun and night sky, is the only public observatory in southern Oregon, and is the only all-digital observatory in the Northwest.

In March of 2018, Tapʰòytʰaʼ Hall was added to the  UCC campus. Replacing the previous Snyder Hall, Tapʰòytʰaʼ (often referred to as “Tap”) is an upgraded classroom, office, and study building that has received award recognition by the Portland chapter of the American Institute of Architects for its design. The name Tapʰòytʰaʼ (pronounced duh-POY-tuh) translates as “be blessed and to prosper” in the Takelma language which was spoken by the local indiginous Latgawa and Takelma people, and Cow Creek band of Upper Umpqua.

UCC is one of the 17 member colleges of the Oregon Community College Association. UCC offers a wide variety of Associate Degrees and Certifications; as well as non-credit licensure, GEDs, and community education classes. As an Oregon public community college, many Associate Degrees earned by students are also Transfer Degrees. These Transfer Degrees allow students to transfer to one of Oregon’s 7 public universities as a junior in an undergraduate program. Additionally, UCC has developed specialized articulation partnerships with some 4-year universities including Oregon State University, Southern Oregon University, and Bushnell University.

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Umpqua Community College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.