From its first campus in a Richmond shipyard, 4CD marks 75 years

From its first campus in a Richmond shipyard, 4CD marks 75 years
One of the first classes ever held at Camp Stoneman, in Pittsburg. 4CD would later open its first campus at the Kaiser Shipyards in Richmond. (Photo courtesy of 4CD)

By Kathy Chouteau

The Contra Costa Community College District (4CD) is celebrating its 75th anniversary.

The Governing Board of 4CD will launch a year of celebrations at its meeting Wednesday, Dec. 13 at 6 p.m. at the George R. Gordon Education Center in Martinez. Click here for information about this and other related events. 

Contra Costa County voters approved the formation of the junior college district on Dec. 14, 1948. The Board of Supervisors formed the Contra Costa County Junior College District (CCCJCD) at its Dec. 27 meeting that year. 

During WWII, an influx of military members and war workers to Richmond and elsewhere in California contributed to the expansion of junior colleges. Coupled with the GI Bill that aimed to support returning veterans, junior colleges supporteed their transition back to civilian life.

Fourteen college districts formed in the 1946 to 1950 timeframe, with the CCCJCD becoming the state’s first countywide community college district.

Pittsburg saw CCCJCD’s first classrooms at Camp Stoneman in 1949, while the first campus, referred to as Shipyard Tech, was established that same year at the Kaiser Shipyard in Richmond, home of Rosie the Riveters and other shipbuilders. Eventually, the Contra Costa College campus in San Pablo was built, as well as Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, while Camp Stoneman in Pittsburg became Los Medanos College. In the 2000s, additional campuses were built in Brentwood and San Ramon.

In November 1971, the CCCJCD was renamed the Contra Costa Community College District. About 46,000 students are served annually, most of whom are people of color.

Governing Board President Fernando Sandoval called 4CD’s legacy amazing and historical. He said the district owes much to its bipartisan founders who worked together to fulfill the higher education needs of this community.

“I join my fellow trustees in honoring their leadership, supporting the academic success of every student who comes to us, and building upon the vision of a college-going community,” he added.