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History of MSJC

The first 50 years of Mt. San Jacinto College

The Mt. San Jacinto Community College District was formed in 1960 by a vote of the citizens in Banning, Beaumont, Hemet and San Jacinto. The first Board of Trustees met in 1962.

The college enrolled its first students in the fall of 1963, holding classes in rented facilities. The San Jacinto Campus opened in 1965 with two buildings. That same year, the college held its first commencement for eight graduates. It has since grown into a comprehensive college campus.

In 1975, the residents of Temecula, Lake Elsinore, Perris and adjacent areas voted to join the Mt. San Jacinto Community College District, increasing the college’s area to the present 1,700 square miles. Although the boundaries have remained stable since 1975, the District has changed dramatically, especially since the 1980s. Unprecedented population growth in the region helped MSJC become one of California’s fastest growing community colleges.

In response to this intense growth, MSJC opened its Menifee Valley Campus in October 1990. By the end of its first year, there were 2,100 students attending classes at the Menifee Valley Campus. Today, the campus serves 12,000-plus students each semester.

With the rapid growth in enrollments being experienced at both campuses, the District engaged in extensive planning and development for state-of-the-art learning environments for MSJC students.

In the fall of 1993, the Alice P. Cutting Business & Technology Center on the San Jacinto Campus opened to students with new laboratories for Business, Computer Information Systems, Engineering Technologies, Electronics and Photography.

In the fall of 1995, a state-of-the-art music building opened on the San Jacinto Campus. The District opened the Allied Health and Fine Arts buildings on the Menifee Valley Campus in 1995-96.

In 2006, MSJC opened its new Learning Resource Center on the Menifee Valley Campus. The state-of-the-art building provides a library, tutoring services and more for students.

MSJC again experienced rapid expansion in 2008. The Business & Technology Center opened on the Menifee Valley Campus, providing cutting-edge instruction in Geographic Information Systems, Multimedia, Photography and more.

The college also opened the Temecula Education Complex, giving residents of the Temecula and Murrieta areas one location to register, receive counseling and placement testing and take classes. The District ended its lease for the Temecula Education Complex in 2019 after purchasing a permanent site in Temecula.

The college opened its San Gorgonio Pass Service Center in 2008 to provide counseling, registration and other services to the Banning and Beaumont areas. The college also expanded course offerings in the San Gorgonio Pass.

By November 2010, counseling and enrollment services offered at the former San Gorgonio Pass Service Center moved to the new San Gorgonio Pass Campus located south of Interstate 10. In January 2011, students began attending classes at the new site. The campus is on two of 50 acres MSJC owns. In 2022, MSJC entered into an agreement with the Beaumont Unified School District to house the Beaumont Middle College High School at the campus. The middle college high school is designed to raise graduation rates, prepares students for transfer to a four-year institution or and associate degree, and serves underrepresented students.

MSJC opened the Humanities & Social Sciences building on the Menifee Valley Campus in 2012. The two-story building provides state-of-the-art equipment for student learning.

In 2014, the college opened its second site in Temecula: the Temecula Higher Education Center. Also in November 2014, voters of the District approved Measure AA, a $295 million facilities bond. It is the second bond in the District’s history. In 1978, when the District only operated its first campus in San Jacinto, voters passed a $3 million facilities bond.

A new facility purchased by the District in 2018 opened in 2021 as the Temecula Valley Campus, allowing MSJC to close the Temecula Higher Education Center and combine services for this area into one facility.

The District remained among the fastest growing of California’s community colleges with enrollment growing by more than 11 percent in 2015-16 and 2016-17. Despite a dramatic statewide decline in enrollments experienced by other community colleges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, MSJC is a leader in student enrollments, up 21% in Spring 2023.

The Inland Empire region, which is comprised of Riverside and San Bernardino counties, experienced the fifth largest population growth in the United States among large metropolitan areas, according to the 2020 U.S. Census. Nearly 50,000 new residents were added to the region by July 2021. Thanks to funds from Measure AA, MSJC is keeping up with the growth with the construction of an Athletics & Kinesiology Complex, scheduled to open in 2023, at the Menifee Valley Campus. MSJC also used funds from Measure AA and the state's Prop. 51 for the construction of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics buildings at the San Jacinto and Menifee Valley campuses. As an innovative institution, MSJC became the first community college in the state in 2022 when it opened an animatronic makerspace in partnership with Garner Holt Education Through Imagination. Funded through the state’s Strong Workforce program, the AniMakerspace at the San Jacinto Campus will offer students an opportunity to explore 50 different career paths.