History of Trinidad State
Trinidad State Junior College, the oldest public two year college in Colorado, can look back on almost 85 years of service to the community of Trinidad and its surrounding area.
Following its establishment in April, 1925, the college was first housed in Trinidad High School sharing its facilities and faculty. In the fall of 1935, classes were moved to the remodeled and since razed Tillotson Academy building on Prospect Street. The sunken area just east of the Berg Building shows where the foundation of the Tillotson Academy building was located. .
In its first years, the school offered regular first-year college courses leading to the Arts and Science Degree, and several teacher-training courses. In the fall of 1932, course offerings were increased to encompass two years of academic college level study. The Superintendent of Trinidad District One Schools served as the chief administrative officer for the junior college.
In 1938, there was considerable anxiety over where the new junior college should be located. Little did anyone at that time anticipate the future growth and expansion of the college. Because of a lack of money for new buildings, new construction at alternative sights was abandoned and the Tillotson building was kept and property around it purchased.
In 1939, Trinidad State Junior College earned its own autonomy, having its own governing board, the Junior College Committee and its first full time president, Dr. George Kabat.
Ground was broken for the first permanent structure on the TSJC campus in the spring of 1940. It was constructed, with the assistance of WPA labor, of native sandstone, and housed classes, beginning in spring of 1941. This building was named the Berg Administration Building in honor of Mr. Albert Berg, who had served as a member of the junior college committee for many years.
Ground was broken for the second building, a gymnasium, in the fall of 1940. Completed in 1942, it was named for George W. Scott, the first dean and athletic director of the college.
These two buildings were constructed at a total cost of $160,000. Today, they are part of a campus that has expanded to include 15 more permanent structures on a 17-acre campus.
Trinidad State Junior College has continued to grow and to progress through its 75 years, developing a student enrollment which has grown from 37 students in 1926, to its present enrollment of over a 1,800.
Today, the College has a total budget in excess of $17 million, with more than 300 full and part-time employees. The progress of TSJC has been steady and gratifying, with bright possibilities for continued success. But while many things have changed at the local campus, the old saying, "The more things change, the more they stay the same," has certainly held true. The College continues to offer traditional quality programs of study in academic-transfer and vocational-technical areas, as well as providing opportunities for part-time day and evening students.
As further educational needs arise and as further opportunities for service are seen, TSJC will continue its policy of expansion of program offerings.
Year by year highlights at TSJC
1925: Trinidad State Junior College established in April by an Act of the State Legislature in response to a bill presented by Senator Sam Freudenthal. No appropriations are granted and the College is initially housed in Trinidad High School under Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gilbert S. Willey.
1926: Thirty-seven students register for the one year of regular college work being provided. Classes were held on the top floor of the high school which is today called the Trinidad Junior High just south of TSJC. The teachers for the College were the same ones who taught the high school classes, but the school board did not allow co-mingling of the students.
1931: Volume one, number one of The Collegian, the first college newspaper, appears in December.
1932: TSJC offers two years of regular college work.
1933: The first annual college commencement ceremonies are held in May. Eight students received an A.A. Degree. That fall, the Superintendent of Schools assigned the first Director of the College, Dr. William R. Ross.
1934: A school of business is established. The evening division program has been in operation regularly since that time.
1935: The College moves to the Tillotson Academy Building on Prospect Street in September.
1936: A football program begins with the first Dean of Students, George W. Scott, serving as the first coach. George W. Scott, for whom the gymnasium is named, also started the annual high school Invitational Tournament.
1937: In cooperation with the State board for Vocational Education, vocational training is established as part of the TSJC program.
1938: The college has its first separate full-time faculty in September. Mr. William Ross acts as the school's first president.
1939: The College is given a separate administration under the authority of a five-member College Committee and its full-time President, Dr. George Kabat. TSJC is designated an aviation training center by the Civil Aeronautics Authority and begins teaching aviation courses. One of the board members was Albert V. Berg for whom the Berg Building was soon to be named.
1940: The cornerstone of the administration classroom building is laid in June. In September a regular two-year course in commercial subjects is added.
1941: Dr. Peter P. Mickelson assumes the role of TSJC president. In June, the first regular summer session is established. The same fall, the evening school begins to function as an integral part of the college program entailing regular college work and special services for various community groups. In September, the Berg Administration Building is officially dedicated.
1942: The new gymnasium is opened for regular use in June and named Scott Gymnasium, in honor of George W. Scott. The War Department program for air cadets and pre-training Marine Corps officer candidate school is set up among the college curricula together with Signal Corps and Army radio maintenance schools.
1945: Ground is broken for a mechanic arts building in November.
1946: Twenty Quonset hut units are erected to house veterans. Dr. Dwight C. Baird becomes the school's third official president.
1947: The College inaugurates courses in modern gunsmithing and handcrafts in February. In March, three temporary buildings are erected to furnish more adequate library and classroom facilities. The James E. Mullen Mechanical Arts building is dedicated in October.
1948: The Trek Inn is officially open in April with the college cafeteria and student union facilities available.
1949: A dormitory for women students opens in September.
1953-54: Early in 1953, Archeology instructor Hal Chase begins work on a museum that is officially opened in May, 1954, by Dr. Herb Dick. The museum is housed on the fourth floor of the Berg Building.
1958: Dr. Guy C. Davis becomes president of TSJC.
1960: Two modern and attractive dormitories and a new college student center are completed.
1961: The open house for two dorms and the student center is held in February.
1962: TSJC earns accreditation from the North Central Association for Colleges and Secondary Schools. The TSJC football team is rated number one in the nation by the NJCAA as a result of its success under Bob Weber, who was named Coach of the Year. The season ends in December with the team's appearance in the Texas - hosted Junior College bowl.
1963: The Ben Johnson Residence Hall that opened in 1961 is dedicated in April, 1963.
1964: Construction of O'Connor Hall, the fourth building in the dorm complex, is completed.
1966: Groundbreaking for a new dorm and C.O. Banta vocational building is held in June while the Samuel Freudenthal Memorial Library construction and work on the new president's house continues. The men's dorm, opened in 1961, is officially named the J.M. Romero Residence Hall in May.
1967: The Banta Building, library, and O'Connor Hall are completed and dedicated. The College now has residence room for approximately 420 students and a resource center housing 42,000 volumes and other audio-visual materials.
1968: TSJC enters into the state system of community colleges in July. Star basketball player, Spencer Haywood, breaks nine school records during his one-year stay at TSJC.
1969: Twenty-five TSJC police cadets under Louis Girodo assist at the 61st annual National Governor's conference held at the Broadmoor Hotel in September. Among the dignitaries present are President Richard Nixon, Vice President Spiro Agnew, New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, and California Governor Ronald Reagan.
1971: The Guy C. Davis Science Building is dedicated in December in honor of the man under whose leadership the College experienced phenomenal growth-expanding from 321 students and three permanent buildings to 1,398 students and 13 permanent structures. Mr. Roy Boyd is appointed Acting President in the wake of the illness of Dr. Davis. Dr. Morris F. Taylor publishes his third major historical work, First Mail West. His previous writings include Trinidad, Colorado Territory (1966), Pioneers of the Picketwire (1964), and a shorter work, A Sketch of Early Days on the Purgatory (1959).
1972: Dr. Thomas W. Sullivan becomes president of the school in July.
1973: National recognition is given to the TSJC gunsmithing department in an article, "Return to Trinidad", in the January issue of Gun World, written by former student Ralph T. Walker. TSJC receives continuing accreditation from the North Central Association.
1974: TSJC Educational Foundation conducts a successful fund drive and purchases a Carillon Bell System for the college.
1974: TSJC hosts First Southern Colorado Law Enforcement Academy.
1975: TSJC celebrates its 50th Anniversary in April.
1976: TSJC receives continuing accreditation from the North Central Association.
1978: The first students were admitted to the Associate Degree Nursing program in the fall.
1979: Ground is broken for the Mining Technology Building, located in Trinidad's Industrial Park. Ground is broken for the Massari Performing Arts Center in April.
1980: The Mining Technology Building is used for instructional purposes for the first time in December.
1981: Classes are held in the newly constructed Massari Performing Arts Center. TSJC receives continuing accreditation from the Central Association.
1982: The Associate Degree Nursing program receives accreditation from the National League of Nursing.
1983: TSJC and the Trinidad City Government join efforts to form a Legislative Forum.
1984: The Louden-Henritze Archeology Museum, located in the lower level of the library, is dedicated to Richard and Willard Louden and Ruth Henritze, who assisted in the initial phases of the museum and were long-term supporters of the College and Museum. The intramural field located north of the Massari Center is dedicated to Dr. Gordon Sanders, long-term council member (1975-1987), at commencement ceremonies. Dr. Sanders is recognized for his continuing interest and dedication to the continued improvement of TSJC students and the institution.
1985: The Trojan baseball team advances to the NJCAA World Series, finishing sixth in the nation.
1986: The Huerfano County Education Center in Walsenburg opens and offers opportunities for adults in the Huerfano County area to continue their education. The Trojan's Men's basketball team wins the Region IX Championship, advancing to the national tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas, finishing eighth in the nation.
1987: TSJC Men's baseball team goes to the NJCAA World Series in Grand Junction finishing fifth in the nation. Women's volleyball team is established. Phi Theta Kappa Honorary Society renews charter.
1988: TSJC receives continuing 10-year accreditation by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Education.
1988: Small Business Development Center is established on campus.
1988: TSJC is awarded a Title III Grant in the amount of $2.2 million to be used over a five year period.
1988: Gunsmithing students create a fantasy gun for the movie, Big Bad John, which is filmed in the Trinidad area. The gun is on display at the movie premiere, held in Trinidad.
1989: First Annual Leadership Institute, coordinated by the Small Business Development Center, begins in January.
1989: TSJC revitalizes Alumni Association and makes contact with our 7,000 former students and friends.
1989: Occupational Safety Consortium is established through the Occupational Education Program with Red Rocks Community College for on-site, in-service and internship training.
1990: TSJC CELEBRATES ITS 65TH ANNIVERSARY JUNE 28, 29, 30, JULY 1-Award of Challenge Grant announced. The U.S. Department of Education pledges to provide matching funds if TSJC raises $500,000 by October, 1991.
1991: Dr. Harold Deselms assumes presidency of Trinidad State Junior College on July 1, 1991. Dr. Deselms becomes the College's sixth full-time president, succeeding Dr. Thomas Sullivan who held that post for 19 years.
1991: On December 20, 1991, President Deselms announced that TSJC was officially certified as meeting the challenge to raise $500,000 in contributions, thus qualifying for matching funds from the United States Department of Education. The $1 million is placed in endowment for 20 years. Primary use of the funds will be for scholarships.
1992: TSJC biology students travel to Mexico on research trip to the Sea of Cortez with instructor, Ron Rankin. TSJC baseball team finishes 6th in the nation at the NJCAA World Series.
1993: TSJC receives U.S. Department of Education $151,326 Even Start Grant for development of family literacy program. TSJC Educational Foundation purchases Daugherty Alumni House, adjacent to the campus. The John Building, located in downtown Trinidad, was donated by TSJC alumnus, Robert Fabec and is refurbished by the TSJC Educational Foundation.
1994: Trinidad State Junior College merges with the San Luis Valley Educational Center in Alamosa expanding the College's service area. The merge creates Trinidad State Junior College San Luis Valley Educational Center thereby improving educational opportunities for the San Luis Valley. The TSJC Small Business Development Center moves into the newly renovated, historic John Building in downtown Trinidad. TSJC 1954 football team holds reunion on the TSJC campus.
1995: Trinidad State Junior College marks its 70th anniversary.
1997: TSJC students pass $1 million bond issue to fund a major construction/renovation to the Sullivan Student Center. A reunion for gunsmithing students is held marking the 50th anniversary of the program.
1998: TSJC receives continuing 10-year accreditation by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Education. Grand opening is held for the newly renovated Scott Gymnasium. Heroic-size bronze Trojan sculpture is unveiled in August. The Trojan Trail, a brick pathway to the Trojan, is begun.
2000: Trinidad State Junior College celebrates its 75th anniversary with a celebration June 29-July 2. Student Center renovation grand opening is held in February.
2001: The TV studio opened in April with multi-media classes starting in the fall semester of that year.
2002: Professor Rankin and three biology student interns traveled to Orlando, Florida to present original research at a national biomedical research conference
2002: The TSJC Biology Department was honored with an Award of Excellence from the State of Colorado.
2003: TSJC bighorn sheep lungworm research was presented at a national conference in Houston, Texas.
2004: A student received a second place award at a regional TriBeta conference in Salt Lake City.
2005: The Colorado Division of Wildlife (CDOW) presented the Biology Department with a grant of $38,000 to assist with research into Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep health issues.
2005: The Customized Training Program began in May to meet the needs of the service area employers.
2006: Ron Rankin traveled to Alberta, Canada and presented bighorn sheep lungworm research at the 15th Northern Wild Sheep and Goat Symposium.
2006: TSJC student qualified for the National TriBeta Convention by taking a second place award at the regional conference and then received a third place award for bighorn sheep research at the National TriBeta Conference. As the only student competing at the conference from a two-year college, he was also the only student to present two different research studies.
2006: In recognition of the many alliances she has forged between TSJC and business and industry in Trinidad and the San Luis Valley, TSJC President Ruth Ann Woods earned the 2006 Business Woman of the Year award presented by the Trinidad and Las Animas County Chamber of Commerce. President Woods was also voted 2005/2006 State Student Advisory Council (SSAC) President of the Year among Community Colleges of Colorado in recognition of her outstanding service to students.
2006: The Aquaculture Technician Program received Outstanding Program of the Year honors from the State Board of Colorado Community Colleges and Occupational Education and the Colorado Community College System.
2006: Students participated in the CSU-Pueblo Engineering Science and Technology Design Contest, a high school and college competition and placed 1st.
2007: The TSJC English Department reinstated the English Honors Society and offered an English Honor course.
2007: Two graduates who had participated in the Biology research program were awarded Griffin Foundation Scholarships which are full ride scholarships to the Colorado school of their choice and one student was awarded the Morris K Udall Scholarship.
2007: To celebrate its 60th year a Gunsmithing alumni reunion was held in June.