History of San Jac


San Jacinto College’s Enduring Story

Sixty years of innovation, inclusion, and extraordinary growth mark the history of San Jacinto College. We’ve evolved from one location in urban Pasadena to five campuses and multiple extension centers and early college high schools serving the Greater Houston community. Today more than 32,000 students discover their pathways at San Jacinto College. To support their success, we’ve invested nearly $400 million in the last decade to build first-class facilities and partnerships that inspire the next generation of leaders.

San Jacinto College Timeline

1960: San Jacinto College traces its roots to May 1960, when voters in five school districts —Channelview, Deer Park, Galena Park, La Porte, and Pasadena — approved the creation of East Harris County Union Junior College.

1961: The board of regents officially changed the name to the San Jacinto Junior College District. The College welcomed 876 students to its first classes, held in a handful of renovated buildings in Pasadena, Texas. Dr. Thomas Spencer was elected first president.

1963: The College earned full membership in the Association of Texas Colleges and Universities.

1966: The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools granted accreditation.

1970: The men’s basketball team won the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) national championship.

1975: The North Campus opened at 5800 Uvalde Road in Houston, earning accreditation a year later.

1979: The South Campus opened at 13735 Beamer Road in Houston, earning accreditation in the fall.

1983 & 1984: On a roll -- the men's basketball team won its second and third NJCAA national championships.

1985: The baseball team won its first NJCAA national championship.

1986: The baseball team took its second NJCAA national championship, while the men’s basketball team won its fourth NJCAA national championship.

1987: Three in a row -- the baseball team scored its third NJCAA national championship. Women’s volleyball also snagged the NJCAA national title.

1989 & 1990: The baseball team won its fourth and fifth national titles.

1999: Voters approved $91 million in bonds to add state-of-the-art interactive learning centers (ILCs) on each campus, fine arts centers, and substantial infrastructure improvements.

All three campuses were reaccredited.

2003: Four North Campus programs — health information management, emergency medical technology, computer information systems, and legal assistant — earned exemplary status from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. This was the most of any community college in Texas.

2005: The South Campus opened the Biotechnology Life Sciences Center to provide leading-edge training and support workforce needs in industry, research, and bio-tech organizations.

2006: The Center for Professional Development opened.

2007: Clear Horizons Early College High School opened on the South Campus. A partnership with Clear Creek ISD, this program allows students to earn associate degrees while also earning their high school diplomas.

2008: Voters overwhelmingly approved a $295 million bond referendum to create new allied health and science facilities and improve library and physical education facilities.

Hurricane Ike inflicted substantial damage to the three campuses. San Jac leadership and faculty united to get students back to class in just a few weeks and complete the semester on time. San Jacinto College earned reaccreditation in the fall.

2009: Dr. Brenda Hellyer was named Chancellor, the fifth in San Jac’s history.

2010: Men of Honor, an initiative to increase retention and graduation rates among male African American students, launched with 71 students.

2011: San Jacinto College celebrated its 50th anniversary. The College was also recognized as a leader in the national student completion movement by Achieving the Dream with a designation of Leader College.

2012: More than 200 elected officials, community members, former and current San Jacinto College employees, and the Harris County Historical Commission unveiled a Texas historical marker on the Central Campus.

2013: San Jacinto College graduated more than 5,000 students.

2013: The College opened science and allied health centers at the North and South Campuses.

San Jacinto College joined forces with the Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC) and the 50 community colleges from around the state to form the Texas Success Center (TSC) to support the state’s community college success agenda.

2014: The first-ever College-wide commencement ceremony was held at NRG Stadium.

2015: San Jacinto College closed on the purchase of 57 acres at Generation Park for future development of a new campus.

Voters approved a $425 million bond referendum to fund new construction and renovation projects throughout the College.

2016: The 45,000-square-foot Maritime Technology and Training Center opened as the base for the state’s first and only maritime transportation associate degree.

San Jacinto College was selected as one of 30 colleges nationwide to participate in the American Association of Community Colleges Pathways Initiative.

2017: The Aspen Institute named San Jacinto College as one of the top five community colleges in the nation, as a Rising Star recipient.

The 114,000-square-foot Center for Industrial Technology (CIT) opened at the North Campus, featuring technologically advanced facilities for industrial programs.

Open Books courses were launched College-wide, saving students more than $1 million in textbook costs in the first year.

2018: The College broke ground for four new planned facilities: the South Campus Cosmetology Center, the North Campus Cosmetology and Culinary Center, the South Campus Engineering and Technology Center, and the Central Campus Welcome Center.

The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce selected San Jacinto College as its 2018 Business of the Year.

2019: The LyondellBasell Center for Petrochemical, Energy, & Technology opened at Central Campus as the largest petrochemical training facility in the Gulf Coast region.

The Aspen Institute named San Jacinto College one of the top 10 community colleges in the nation, as a top 10 finalist for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.

2020: San Jacinto College was designated an Achieving the Dream Leader College of Distinction for achieving new, higher student outcomes and narrowing equity gaps.

San Jacinto College opened its fifth campus, Generation Park, in northeast Houston. The campus offers academic courses that transfer to four-year universities.

The College offered its first baccalaureate degree, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). The program meets area health care needs while allowing working registered nurses to advance in their profession.

The Aspen Institute named San Jacinto College one of the top 10 community colleges in the nation for the third time, as a top 10 finalist for the 2021 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.