Timeline of Major Events

A History of TMCC Throughout the Decades

1970s

1970s

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1968-1970

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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1971

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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1971

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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1972

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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1974

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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1975

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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1976

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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1977

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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1977

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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1979

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.

1980s

1980s

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1980

Red Mountain Building Expansion Completed

A time capsule containing records of the event was placed during a Cornerstone Ceremony, led by the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons. The building added new spaces for health, business, trade and industry occupations, liberal arts, and community service programs. A new cafeteria was now available for students, where coffee cost a quarter.

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1980

Student Engagement Blossomed

Student government at TMCC reinvented itself as the Associated Students of Truckee Meadows (ASTM) in Spring 1980.

TMCC's literary journal, The Meadows, published from 1980–1986, and began again in 1998 (at which time they dropped the "s"). Today, The Meadow publishes annually each spring, featuring work from both novice and experienced writers and artists.

Credit card payments are also accepted for the first time during class registration.

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1980

First Graduates of TMCC

The first official Commencement ceremony of Truckee Meadows Community College was held at the Pioneer Theatre Auditorium in Reno. Subsequent ceremonies were held in various locations around Reno/Sparks, before moving to an outdoor ceremony at the Dandini Campus in the 1990's.

Photo: TMCC President V. James Eardley spoke at the 1981 TMCC Commencement ceremony, held at John Ascuaga's Nugget.

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1981

Fun Facts

  • Course registration was accepted in-person or in the mail, and enrollment was organized by the Admissions and Records staff using records kept by hand.
  • Credit card payments are also accepted for the first time during class registration.

Photo: A student with a young helper considers classes available during walk-in registration outside the Admissions and Records Office in the Red Mountain Building.

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1982

TMCC Foundation Established

With a goal to support student scholarships, as well as the expansion of needed physical space, technology and academic programs, the TMCC Foundation called on private philanthropists, foundations and corporate sponsors.

Photo: In this photo taken in downtown Reno in the late 1980's, TMCC President John Gwaltney (second from right) accepted a donation to the TMCC Foundation.

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1984

Technology Changed Learning Opportunities

A telecourse broadcast debuted on KNPB Channel 5 in Reno, bringing education out of the classroom for the first time.

Since 1971, over 60,000 students have attended TMCC classes in Reno and Sparks.

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1986

New President John Gwaltney

President Gwaltney (1986-1994) sought to expand academic offerings, and he would oversee major construction projects at the Dandini Campus in the coming years.

I am proud to be a part of the growth and progression process that has occurred. It honors me to know that with diploma in hand, TMCC students will find new channels to direct their energies.
John Gwaltney, May 1987
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1986

Automotive, Diesel and HVAC Programs Expansion

A groundbreaking ceremony at the Dandini Campus celebrated the first step towards a 42,000 sq. ft. addition.

The new building signaled a southern expansion on campus, with a separate building housing automotive, diesel and HVAC labs, as well as a library expansion.

The Red Mountain Building gained a new addition to the south, and parking is increased by 300 new parking spots to accommodate the increased number of students.

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1986

15th Anniversary Celebrated

TMCC has always used 1971 as our anniversary date! In 1986, we celebrated 15 years of education in Reno/Sparks.

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1988

TMCC Library Dedicated to Elizabeth Sturm

The library, originally known as the North Campus Learning Resource Center, was established in 1976 by Elizabeth Sturm, the first librarian. Upon her retirement in 1988, she was honored for her 50+ years of service to northern Nevada libraries by having the library at TMCC named for her.

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1988

High School Students Earned Dual Credit

With permission from their principals, local high school students began earning credit for both high school and college courses at the same time. Today, this continues to be an attractive option for students who want to maximize their education.

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1989

TMCC Established Old Town Mall Educational Center

TMCC leased new classroom space in the Old Town Mall at the intersection of Virginia Street and Peckham Lane in order to bring education into the community.

This year, TMCC also reached the milestone of 284 graduating students, a new record.

1990s

1990s

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1991

Construction and Growth at the Dandini Campus

With a growing student body, the Dandini Campus began construction on both the Vista Building, which can accommodate 1,000 students, and the E.L. Cord Foundation Child Care Center, which provides early childhood education to the young children of students, employees, and the community.

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1992

The Golden Frog opened

The TMCC Culinary Arts program opened its first practice restaurant, The Golden Frog, where coursework includes students practicing preparing and serving plated meals and buffets. Originally, it was a small cafe-like room next to the cafeteria that served lunch ($4.50) on Tuesdays and Thursdays, run by students with seating for 24.

Fun Fact

The TMCC Theatre program was first located in what is now the back of the Culinary Arts kitchen in the Red Mountain Building. The first full length production? One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

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1994-1995

A New President (and Internet!) Comes to TMCC

Under the leadership of Interim President Rita Gubanich Huneycutt, student internet access accounts were available through sign-ups with System Computing Services (SCS). TMCC welcomes President Ken Wright (1995-97).

TMCC is a great institution with the potential to be even greater. This will be the year that we achieve a much more harmonious, collaborative culture through each of us pursuing our passion and supporting our peers.
Ken Wright, Welcome Back Speech, 1996

Photo: TMCC President Ken Wright

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1996

Advanced Technology Building and New Library Open

Throughout the year, new spaces opened at the Dandini Campus, with a newly expanded Elizabeth Sturm Library building opening in January, while construction continued on the new Advanced Technology Building—now known as the Sierra Building—which brought additional classrooms, and computer lab space. The grand opening was celebrated in October.

In 1996, students paid $36.50 per credit hour to attend TMCC.

Fun Fact

An article from May 1975 features an image of students and staff smoking in the Learning Resource Center—unimaginable today! The 1987 policy still allowed smoking in certain indoor areas, like private offices, and the Atrium. In 1995, designated smoking areas were moved outdoors.

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1997

Students Young and Old are Welcome

TMCC High School opened its doors, as did the kindergarten at the E.L. Cord Foundation Child Care Center, bringing students on either end of the K-12 spectrum to the Dandini Campus. The high school offers an opportunity for motivated students to earn both their high school diploma and an associate degree at the same time. At the same time, TMCC establishes an International Student Program to begin the following year with 84 students on F-1 visas.

Photo: This TMCC promotional photo from the late 1990's highlights students between classes near the coffee bar outside the Elizabeth Sturm Library.

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1997

New Leadership, New Class Options for Students

Over the coming year, new TMCC President John Richardson (1997-2001) oversaw the start of both Weekend College and Intersession Courses which served students during non-traditional times in order to meet demand for flexible class options. Also, the annual Commencement ceremony is held at the Dandini Campus for the first time.

TMCC has made many advances over the past three years. Many individuals and groups too numerous to cite have contributed to making TMCC a better place to learn and work, and I gratefully acknowledge their contributions.
John Richardson, 2000

Photo: TMCC President John Richardson

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1998

TMCC Police Department Created

When the former Department of Public Safety became the TMCC Police Department, it employed three officers, a number of Community Service Officers and student cadets, while taking over campus monitoring from the Reno Police Department. TMCC Police served until 2016, when the department was consolidated with the University of Nevada Police Services.

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1999

Technology Offered Students Opportunities

Following two years of renovation and modernization, the 83,000 sq. foot former warehouse site on Edison Way became the TMCC site for applied technology programs. Today, this site is known as the William N. Pennington Applied Technology Center, and houses advanced manufacturing, welding, automotive, diesel, HVAC/R, and machining to name a few.

The TMCC website (www.tmcc.edu) was launched in Spring Semester 1999, which also offered web-registration for classes for the first time, even though phone-in registration was still available. By Spring 2000, the first fully online courses were offered.

2000s

2000s

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2001

New Dental Hygiene Graduates Placed Fifth in National Board Exams

During another change in leadership, Interim President Rita Gubanich Huneycutt presided as the first class of 11 TMCC dental hygiene graduates, starting a tradition of excellence in this sought-after program.

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2002

Change in Leadership, New Locations

Under the leadership of new TMCC President Philip Ringle (2002-2007), classes previously held at the Old Town Mall location were relocated to the Meadowood Center on Neil Road.

This is an institution that can be justifiably proud of what it has accomplished. We are ready to step into the future and move ahead in many new and exciting ways. I know now, more than ever, that all of the components required to move forward are in place.
Dr. Philip Ringle, 2006

Photo: TMCC President Philip Ringle

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2003

TMCC Performing Arts Opened New Theater

The Board of Regents approve a ten-year lease for the former Keystone Theater, and performing arts classes began in the space known as the Nell J. Redfield Foundation Performing Arts Center.

Photo: The 2003 cast of the TMCC Theatre production of "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum"

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2004

Student Center Grand Opening

The V. James Eardley Student Center—a $12 million project—opened 100,000 sq. feet of new and renovated spaces that include a variety of student services, such as the new cafeteria, art gallery, fitness center and bookstore, plus a modernized culinary arts center and Golden Frog restaurant.

Photo: Cutting the ribbon at the Student Center Grand Opening event were ASTM President Joel Gutierrez, Dean of Student Services Kathleen Lucchesi, NSHE Regent Stavros Anthony, TMCC President Philip Ringle, V. James Eardley, and NSHE Chancellor Jim Rogers.

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2004

New Branding

After a long process with input from students, employees, alumni and the community, TMCC began using a new mountain logo and school colors: green, white and black.

Fun Fact

TMCC signed on to operate the Truckee Meadows Learning Channel, a public access network at Channel 200 on Charter Communications, which brings a variety of courses and information into homes across the region until it was retired in 2015.

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2005

High Tech Center at Redfield Campus Opens

After a five-year construction process, a collaborative campus location at the Redfield Campus in south Reno opened with TMCC occupying Building B.

Photo: Participants in the groundbreaking for the Redfield Campus included representatives from the Redfield Foundation, TMCC, UNR, and the State of Nevada. From left: NSHE Chancellor Jim Rogers, Governor Kenny Guinn, Jerry Smith, Jeane Jones, TMCC President Philip Ringle, UNR President John Lilley, Senator Randolph Townsend, and Senator Bill Raggio.

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2008-2009

A Change in Leadership

Former VP Delores Sanford stepped in as Interim President until Dr. Maria Sheehan (2008-2015) was named President in Fall 2008. She led TMCC during the fallout from the national economic crisis that resulted in a surge in unemployment in northern Nevada. In 2009-10, TMCC experienced a record high enrollment (13,544 students in Fall 2009) when many return to school.

It's not about what I've done in my career and at TMCC, it's what the team has done—and the TMCC team is doing wonderful things.
Dr. Maria Sheehan upon her retirement, 2015

Photo: TMCC President Maria C. Sheehan

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2009

Summer Bridge Recruitment Begins

In preparation for the first year of Success First Summer Bridge, TMCC began recruiting first-generation college students interested in the first Summer Bridge program in 2010. Funded by generous donors to the TMCC Foundation, the Summer Bridge offered two academic classes, books, tutors, and support at no cost to participants. As of 2021, a total of 1,204 students have successfully completed their Summer Bridge.

Photo: Students celebrated the completion of the 2010 Success First Summer Bridge program.

2010s

2010s

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2010

Commencement Reaches New Milestone

The annual Commencement ceremony reached a new milestone this year, when 963 degrees and certificates were awarded. With the largest number of graduates and audience members ever, the space in the outdoor Plaza at the Dandini Campus was deemed too small for future Commencement ceremonies, and 2010 was the last year to hold a traditional Commencement ceremony at the Dandini Campus until 2021.

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2011

Nursing Program Renamed to Honor Maxine S. Jacobs

In honor of his late wife, Herb Jacobs and their family foundation made a significant contribution to the TMCC Foundation, and the Maxine S. Jacobs Nursing Program took on a new name.

Photo: TMCC President Maria Sheehan (front left), with Herb Jacobs (center) and representatives of his family foundation. Also pictured: TMCC Foundation Executive Director Paula Lee Hobson (second from right) and Foundation Board Member Rod Sanford (right).

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2012-13

Starting to Go Green

Solar panels donated by Black Rock Solar were mounted on the Vista and Sierra Buildings to power TMCC. A public-facing website allowed visitors to view the amount of energy produced and compare the amount of kW generated to that produced by wood or petroleum. Sustainability became important to degree programs too: since 2009, TMCC has offered a construction technologies associate of applied science degree with an emphasis on renewable energy.

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2014

Wizard the Lizard Born

Even in 1973, students at the Stead Campus were interested in the lizard being the mascot! Over the years, the lizard was chosen by students again and again to be the official college mascot. In 2014 following another SGA vote, a student graphic design competition resulted in the first logo to feature Wizard the Lizard.

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2015

Renovation and Renaming of the William N. Pennington Health Science Center

The new addition housed the Maxine S. Jacobs Nursing Program, the Radiologic Technology Program, the Veterinary Technician Program and the Certified Nursing Assistant Program.

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2016

First Bachelor Degree Programs Offered

Under Interim President Dr. J. Kyle Dalpe, two Bachelor of Applied Sciences degrees were approved by the Board of Regents, including Logistics Operations Management, and Emergency Management and Homeland Security.

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2016

President Hilgersom Focuses on Sustainability

Dr. Karin Hilgersom (2016-) was named TMCC President, and spearheaded the addition of a new Core Value: Stewardship of Resources, which expands the College's sustainability efforts.

Student success at TMCC is appropriately measured by certificate and degree completion. We are proud to exceed national benchmarks when we count annual completions. And yet student success at TMCC is so much more; success for our diverse student population can be amorphous. We are in the business of cultivating true natures so that students learn to fly professionally, academically, and even personally.
Dr. Karin Hilgersom, 2020
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2016

Wizard's Warehouse Opens

With leadership from the newly-formed Student Resources Committee, the Wizard's Warehouse food pantry opened in two locations (Dandini and Meadowood), offering non-perishable food and personal hygiene supplies to those in need. Shortly after, a formal partnership with the Food Bank of Northern Nevada expanded the food offerings to include some perishable items, and prior to COVID-19, the Warehouse was also operated at the Applied Technology Center.

Fun Fact

The Tutoring and Learning Center, which was located in the lower level of the Vista Building for twenty years, relocated to the Elizabeth Sturm Library in Fall 2016 with the goal to become a Learning Commons hub. Now, the Learning Commons is a popular student space that includes the Fine Focus Learning Lab, computer lab, group study rooms, and more. Faculty can also get assistance from WebCollege, the Academic Support Center, and the Professional Development Office.

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2017

Becoming a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI)

Honoring TMCC's commitment to diversity, the U.S. Department of Education recognized TMCC as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) when student enrollment surpassed the 25% full-time equivalent Hispanic student population threshold.

Fun Fact

TMCC was named one of 150 community colleges eligible to compete for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation's signature recognition of high achievement and performance in community colleges.

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2019

Athletics Program Reinvented Sports at Dandini Campus

A groundbreaking event for the Sports and Fitness Center in late 2018 began the 18-month construction of the new 20,000 sq. ft. center, and the Soccer Field. In August 2019, the Mighty Lizards Soccer teams celebrate the kickoff of their inaugural season and grand opening of the Soccer Field.

Performing Arts Center Closed, New Partnership Formed

After a final performance—the Annual Spring Music Concert—the Nell J. Redfield Performing Arts Center closed permanently, as TMCC Theatre formed new partnerships with WCSD high schools to offer dual enrollment opportunities in other local performance spaces.

2020s

2020s

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2020

Sports and Fitness Center Opens

In early 2020, the new building opened to the TMCC community, and included a full-size gymnasium, weight room, two classroom spaces, and locker rooms. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the grand opening event was postponed.

Fun Fact

The U.S. Secretary of Education named TMCC a 2020 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School Postsecondary Sustainability Awardee.
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2020

Online Classes and Services Offered During COVID-19

In March 2020, amid the global pandemic, TMCC closed all locations and offered classes and services remotely. Despite a challenging semester and the cancellation of the traditional Commencement Ceremony, the Class of 2020 earned 1,683 degrees and certificates.

Interested in more of TMCC's history? Get to know the TMCC Archives.

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Reno, Nevada 89512

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