Looking back at decades of success stories at Truckee Meadows Community College

TMCC celebrated its 50th anniversary from May 1, 2021 through May 23, 2022. This site is now archived.

NSHE Chancellor Melody Rose

Greetings from the Nevada System of Higher Education

For 50 years, students in Reno and Sparks have been able to achieve their dreams by earning their higher education degrees and certificates at Truckee Meadows Community College. I congratulate the TMCC community for reaching this significant milestone, and I look forward with optimism to the achievements and accolades our students will earn in the future.

—Dr. Melody Rose, NSHE Chancellor

Celebrate Truckee Meadows Community College

From humble beginnings as a satellite campus at Stead Air Force Base, to our four locations and over 11,000 current students. It is an honor to reflect on this remarkable time in TMCC's history, and the lives that have been touched through the years. I want to thank our students, employees, alumni and community for celebrating this achievement with us.

—Dr. Karin Hilgersom, TMCC President

Dr. Karin Hilgersom, President

TMCC Alumni

Click to learn more about our amazing alumni

Stephanie Le Stephanie Le
Ryan Mitchell Gerchman Ryan Mitchell Gerchman
Neoma Jardon Neoma Jardon
Randy J. Brown Randy J. Brown
Myrton W. Running Wolf Myrton W. Running Wolf
Abbi Holtom Whitaker Abbi Holtom Whitaker
Joshua Andrew Kutz Joshua Andrew Kutz
George Mwinnyaa George Mwinnyaa
Gabriela Alejandra Davis Gabriela Alejandra Davis
Donald Abbott Donald Abbott
Cheyenne Dowd Cheyenne Dowd
Michael B. Walker Michael B. Walker
Joseph Arrascada Joseph Arrascada
Amanda C. T. Fries Amanda C.T. Fries
Arthur and Sheena Pacheco Arthur and Sheena Pacheco
Christina Le Christina Le
Jimmy Lao Jimmy Lao
Renee Jacqueline Caudill Renee Jacqueline Caudill

TMCC Alumni: We'd love to hear how TMCC has helped you reach your goals. Share your story.

Read on for more alumni stories of incredible success and achievement.

Timeline of Major Events

A History of TMCC



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Governor Laxalt Announced News of Donation from Howard Hughes

Hughes' gift of $250,000 in May 1968 provided funds to continue the community college in Elko, which was the first in the state, and would then lead to the formation of the Nevada Community College Division in February 1969. Charles Donnelly was hired in 1970 as the first—and only—President of the Nevada Community College Division, and plans were made to bring college students to Carson City and Las Vegas.

The approach of the community college is comprehensive, its objective is to provide a wide range of programs to meet the needs of all people in the community—the college will make every opportunity to provide services to all people.
Charles Donnelly, 1975

Advisory Boards Established

In 1970, 11 community members served on the inaugural college Advisory Board in a tradition that continues at TMCC to this day. Advisory Boards are made up of community members from various fields of expertise, to guide academic programs in training students in modernized fields.

Today there are community members on the TMCC Institutional Advisory Council, and also separate departmental Advisory Boards.

Photo: Nevada Community College Division President, Charles Donnelly

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First Community College Classes Offered in Reno/Sparks

Governor Mike O'Callaghan dedicated Western Nevada Community College (WNCC) as one of three community colleges in the Community College Division of the University and Community College System of Nevada (UCCSN).

Classes at what would later become TMCC were located at the Stead Air Base—known as the North Campus—with some night classes offered at Wooster and Reno High Schools, and Clayton Jr. High.

Photo: Faculty, staff and administrators pose outside the North Campus at Stead Air Base.

Student Government Formed

The United Students of Western Nevada Community College officially formed, led by students at the North Campus, with ratified bylaws and an elected student government by Dec. 1971.

The student government and constitution were officially accepted by the Board of Regents in February, 1972, ensuring student body concerns would be represented by WNCC students during BOR meetings.

Fun Facts

  • In 1971, students could attend class for $10 a unit.
  • Full time students paid just $170 a semester—not including the cost of books.
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Wildcats Athletics

The WNCC Wildcats, under Head Coach Joe Ayarbe, played their first basketball game against Lassen College in Nov. 1972.

It's obvious we're serving a purpose. The steady increases in enrollment support that. Our best advertisement is from student word-of-mouth...It's going to be a big school. There are nothing but good things in sight for this school.
Joe Ayarbe, 1976

Photo: Head Coach Joe Ayarbe (front, left) with the 1974-75 WNCC Wildcats Basketball team.

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A Year of Growth

In May 1972, the first WNCC Commencement celebrated 29 graduates, all with AAS degrees in occupational areas, at the Pioneer Center in Reno.

In the following months, the community continued to fully embrace the young college, offering immense support and encouragement for all involved. With this support, WNCC progressed significantly in its initial year of operation, with the number of full time students tripling from 705 in Fall 1971, to 2112 in Fall 1972.

Additional staff were hired in order to accommodate the increase in enrollment, with 73% of classes that semester taking place during evening hours.

The Washoe County School District Adult Education Program was also included into the fall semester schedule.

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Building a New Home

As the demand for classes and services grew, it became obvious the college was in need of a permanent home.

Count Alessandro Dandini played a major role in acquiring 467 acres of land in north Reno from the U.S. Government (Bureau of Land Management) for the Desert Research Institute and what would become Truckee Meadows Community College.

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The People's College

In a report to the University of Nevada System, President Charles Donnelly called community college "The People's Colleges" because they serve the needs of people from so many walks of life. The five characteristics of community colleges in Nevada included:

  • Occupational training
  • University parallel courses
  • Developmental courses
  • Community service
  • Counseling
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The Western Echo Student Newspaper

In a time when print journalism was king, The Western Echo began publishing in 1976 to give student journalists a voice on campus. While a few names were used for the publication over the years, including The Echo beginning in 1980, and a brief period as Voices (1994-1997), the last few years saw The Echo reinvent itself as an online blog-style format before ceasing publication in 2016.

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First WNCC President Named

The Board of Regents made the decision to dissolve the current community college division, which re-organized the college as a multi-campus community college serving western Nevada. Dr. James (Jack) Davis was named president of WNCC.

WNCC differs from the University (Nevada) in a way which provides a schedule that allows people to register for classes at almost any time during the year. Also, our requirements aren't so stringent and we offer occupational opportunities in education and training.
Jack Davis, January 1974
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Red Mountain Building Phase 1 Complete

By Spring 1977, students began taking classes in the Red Mountain Building, which consisted of four floors and was noted by student journalists for its "unusual architecture".

The first of the multi-phases of construction for a permanent campus became the central hub for the staff, programs and students in Reno.

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Hello, TMCC!

The Board of Regents split Western Nevada Community College, and established Truckee Meadows Community College. TMCC became the fourth community college within the Nevada System of Higher Education under new President V. James Eardley (1979-1986).

Our students are practical and highly motivated. At TMCC, excellence in education impacts directly on excellence in Nevada business and industry. We affect a large segment of the resident population.
Jim Eardley, 1984

Photo: V. James Eardley was named the first official President of Truckee Meadows Community College.

Continue Timeline Next: See 1980s through Today

The TMCC Foundation supports student success and academic excellence.

About Us

For 50 years, TMCC has prepared students for transfer or job opportunities in northern Nevada.


7000 Dandini Boulevard, RDMT 201
Reno, Nevada 89512