1960s: A Region is Transformed

February 1961---Board of Trustees hired Dr. Thomas Spencer and Dr. O.W. Marcom as College president and academic dean.


March 31, 1961---Miss Billye Joyce Fields became the first student of San Jacinto College when she registered and paid her fees for the 1961 fall semester.


April 1961---First four faculty members hired: James Furrh, music department chair; John Mitchell, science department chair; Mildred Mitchell, math instructor; Jerry Powell, speech and drama department chair.


July 19, 1961---Board voted to lease two buildings in downtown Pasadena to hold first classes. Former dime store and nearby building in 100 block of South Shaver to be remodeled and divided into classrooms.


July 19, 1961---Five more faculty members hired: Thomas Sewell, head basketball coach; E.H. Ferguson, social science department chair; Charles Brown, art and history instructor; Harold Reel, Spanish instructor; N.M. Rushing, education and accounting instructor.


July 19, 1961---The Board of Trustees awarded a $279,976 contract for construction of a 16-classroom science building. During that summer, the Board elected to rent three vacant store buildings located at 120 Shaver in downtown Pasadena to be used for temporary instructional space until construction of permanent classrooms at the Spencer Highway site could be completed.


August 10, 1961---The groundbreaking ceremony for what would become the Vincent Henrich Science Building took place on the Spencer Highway campus.


September 18, 1961--- San Jacinto College officially opened. With all operations located at the downtown Pasadena site, the College started the week with an initial enrollment of nearly 700 students. By the end of the week, the enrollment reached 876, and San Jacinto College set a new record for first-year enrollment for Texas junior colleges and second largest first-year enrollment for all Texas colleges.


October 15, 1961---Students held an election to determine the names of the first student newspaper (The Texian), the yearbook (The Monument), and the mascot (the “Ravens”).


October 20, 1961---The College published the first issue of the student-operated newspaper, and The Texian became the first junior college biweekly newspaper in the state.


December 19, 1961---Voters approved the College’s first bond election of $2.5 million allowing the construction of an administration building, gymnasium-student center, and fine arts building.


February 22-24, 1962---Theatre San Jacinto presented its first production, “Three Aspects of Humor,” under the direction of Jerry Powell.


May 1962---San Jacinto College celebrated its first graduating class of five students — Allen Lee Gordon, Betty Darby, Perry Orand, Ann Spencer, and Garrett Van Trease. All five attended other colleges during their freshman year and transferred to San Jacinto College.


Fall 1962---Vincent Henrich Science Building opened and students attended classes at two locations 10 miles apart, the downtown Pasadena campus and the main campus.


January 29, 1963---The San Jacinto College nursing program was initiated with 32 students after months of arranging training programs at area hospitals.


April 6, 1963---The Association of Texas Colleges and Universities granted San Jacinto College full accreditation, making the College the first college in the state to become a fully accredited member after only two years of operation.


Spring 1963---The first issue of the student literary magazine The Golden Pen was published.


June 1964---The McCollum Administration Building opened, and the College moved all operations to the new Campus site on Spencer Highway.


November 21, 1964---Voters approved the College’s second bond issue of $3.5 million, allowing the construction of six new buildings and additional classrooms in several others.


January 23, 1965---The first graduating class of 15 nursing students completed their degrees and received their pins.


May 1965---The College dedicated its golf course.  Ninety students graduated in Slocomb Auditorium, commemorating the Spencer Highway Campus’ first graduation ceremony.


November 30, 1966---The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) granted the College full accreditation.


January 1968---The Lee Davis Library opened.


November 4, 1968---Sheldon Independent School District voted to become part of the College district.


December 16, 1969---Voters approved the third bond issue in the College’s history. The $2 million bond referendum provided a new science building and a second technical building at the Spencer Highway Campus. In order to provide instruction to the Northern part of the service area, the bond also authorized the purchase of property on the north side of the Houston Ship Channel for construction of a North Campus.