The Truth Shall Set You Free

Long the dream of Archibald Jete Cloud, the Chief Deputy Superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), City College of San Francisco was established in response to the demand for a public institution to serve both the academic and vocational needs of students as an integral part of SFUSD. It was opened in August of 1935 as San Francisco Junior College and was first housed in two temporary facilities – one downtown and one in the Marina district.  

As enrollment of the College rapidly expanded, additional space was obtained at twenty-three nearby business and public recreational sites. Faculty and students used public transportation to travel between the many sites, giving the college the nickname of the "Trolley Car College". 

An Aerial view of Ocean Avenue Campus, 1965.

In 1937, the San Francisco Board of Education approved a building plan for the College which included a 56-acre site of what is now the Ocean Campus. The new, permanent campus was officially opened in 1940 with the opening of Science Hall. With federal and state grants, the College expanded and built many new buildings during the 1950s and 1960s.
 

In 1970 as a result of a law requiring community colleges to operate as an independent district no longer under the supervision of a unified school district,  the College separated from SFUSD and officially formed the San Francisco Community College District. With the forming of its own district, the staff, programs, and buildings of the Adult and Occupational Division of SFUSD were transferred to the new College District. The College maintained these neighborhood education programs composed primarily of noncredit courses. With rapid growth, the College District subsequently formed two separate divisions: one for-credit courses on the Ocean Campus and another for noncredit courses offered throughout San Francisco. The two divisions merged in 1990 into a single City College of San Francisco.

With approved bond measures in 1997, 2001, and 2005, totaling $491.3million, the College renovated expanded and developed new buildings and facilities throughout San Francisco, including the new Mission Campus, a new Chinatown Campus and extensive renovations at the Downtown Campus and the John Adams Campus.

Today, City College includes 11 sites citywide and serves 60,000+ students each year. The College remains proud of the education it provides the citizens of San Francisco and it continues to be thankful for the consistent and generous support that San Franciscans have always given City College.