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The Story of GCC:
The Stellar 1970s

Early Seventies Photograph of GCC Administration
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The Stellar 1970s

A Campus in Full Bloom

A Campus in Full Bloom

With the first formative years of the college under its belt, GCC flourished in nearly every way imaginable. Perhaps the best example of GCC's rapid growth can be seen in the tremendous surge in college enrollment. Beginning with 5400 students at the start of the seventies, GCC's student population ballooned to more than 13,000 students by the end of the decade.1 It was also an era of great change in other ways. In college administration, Executive Dean Matt O. Hanhila (pictured sitting above with the GCC leadership of the era) stepped down to welcome John Waltrip (pictured to the right), who would lead the college for more than twenty years. New academic programs, such as GCC's premier automotive program gained traction during this era. College life was also in full swing, with numerous plays in the brand-new Performing Arts Center, the rise of student organizations such as MEChA and the Black Student Union, and student success taking shape in both the classroom and on the fields of athletics. It was also an era in which GCC was honored to welcome its first major influx of veterans returning from Vietnam to add to the rich history and legacy of the college. So take a trip with the GCC Archives to this much groovier time and join us as we look at some of the images and documents of the era.

Sights from the Seventies

Band Students in Palm Formation

Band Students in Palm Formation

GCC Band Students in palm formation at the GCC stadium. The original campus design preserved over 200 mature palm trees that existed on the site. According to the Sahuaro Ranch Historical collection, the ranch's first owner, William Bartlett, had these trees planted in 1890. Some of the 75-year-old trees were relocated on campus and the palm design was incorporated into the column architecture and college culture.


Seventies Shot from the Air

Seventies Shot from the Air

Here is a beautiful aerial view of the GCC campus in the 1970s. As you can see, the landscaping and building is complete and the parking lot is filled with students eager to learn and participate in college life.


1974 Speech Team with Trophies

1974 Speech Team with Trophies

The 1970s was an era in which students excelled both in and out of the classroom. This photo of the 1974 GCC speech team, shows them with their various trophies and plaques. The team took 13 individual plaques and the third place sweepstakes award at the Phi Rho Pi Junior College Championship held in Omaha, Nebraska where they competed against 87 colleges.


1977 Speech Team with Trophies

1977 Speech Team with Trophies

Glendale Community College's 1977 Speech Team members also found success, and are photographed here with the trophies that they earned at the State Speech Competition at Pima College in Tucson, AZ that took place on December 2-3, 1977.


GCC Faculty Counselor Joe Griego Helps Student

GCC Faculty Counselor Joe Griego Helps Student

In this photograph, GCC counseling faculty Joe Griego is hard at work assisting a student. In many ways, this photograph represents the countless hours and dedication that GCC faculty and staff have offered to to GCC students throughout the long years of the college's existence. Later, the Dr. Joe Griego Counseling and Career Services Center was dedicated in memory of the long-time GCC counselor and teacher.


Performing Arts Center Grand Opening, November 13, 1977

Performing Arts Center Grand Opening, November 13, 1977

Although the initial construction of the college had been completed, several new buildings were completed during the seventies, including both the Performing Arts Center and the Veterans Center. This photo is from the grand opening of the Performing Arts Center held on November 13, 1977. Dignitaries in the photo (from Left to Right) include Maricopa Governing Board Members Robert Robertson, Jeremy Butler, Barbara Hitchcock, and GCC President John Waltrip.


Bertha Landrum, First Woman Dean in Arizona

Bertha Landrum, First Woman Dean in Arizona

GCC was breaking ground in other ways as well. In 1975, GCC named Bertha Landrum the college's Dean of Instruction. GCC has had several woman presidents since this time, but the hiring of Landrum was a significant milestone as she was the first female dean of instruction hired across the entire state of Arizona.2


GCC Astronomy Faculty John Winters

GCC Astronomy Faculty John Winters

Astronomy faculty John Winters stares into a telescope towards the stars. In many ways, this image represents both GCC's early commitment to science education and the dedicated pursuit of knowledge demonstrated by the countless professors that have walked the halls of the GCC campus.


Glendale Community College Archery Team

Glendale Community College Archery Team

Out of all the athletic sports in which GCC excelled during this decade, the college perhaps found the greatest success at the archery range. In fact, two GCC archers, Lynette Edwards and Judi Adams, would go on to compete in either the Olympics, the Olympic Trials, and/or Pan American Games. Pictured here is the 1978 GCC U.S. Intercollegiate Archery Championship Team.


Archers Launch Arrows

Archers Launch Arrows

GCC archers make their mark competing at the Intercollegiate Archery Championships.


Glendale Community College's Excellent Archers

Glendale Community College's Excellent Archers

Pictured here are four incredible 1979 GCC archers. From top to bottom, Judy Adams (All American/ASW/Nat'l Champion; Future Olympian), Michelle Edwards Bland (All American/ASW), Cindy Elsass, and Kathy Butler.


GCC In the News

The 1970s was quite the era when it came to news upon campus. Whether it was local controversies such as long enrollment lines, news about student clubs and sports teams, or national issues such as the draft or Watergate, student reporters were there to cover it all. Below you will find links to the college papers of the time, written from the perspective of the students.

GCC Student Newspaper Image of the Era

The Traveler


GCC Traveler Image of the Era

The 1970's saw a full decade of The Traveler. The Traveler, or El Pasajero as it was called from 1970-1971, has been GCC's premier literary and artistic journal from its inception until the present day. This journal has featured some of GCC students' best and brightest literary works published by the academic community of the college. Below you will find links to some of the early issues of this annual publication.

Student Bulletins

GCC Student Bulletine Image of the Era

Today, colleges often send important messages to students through large email blasts. During the 1970s, the college had important messages it needed to relay to students. To do so, the college would send out student bulletins.

Course Catalogs

GCC Course Catalog Image of the Era

Curious as to what GCC students were studying in the 1970s? Look no further than the course catalogs from this era where you can see the different classes and programs that were offered during the decade.

Graduations

While video of the initial graduation ceremonies isn't available, here are the lings to the graduation programs for the decade.

GCC Commencement Program Image of the Era

Next Chapter: The Electric 1980s

 

 


1"An Academic Decade: Bomb Scares to Tuition Threats". El Tiempo Pasando. Decemember 6, 1979. Found at: http://azmemory.azlibrary.gov/cdm/singleitem/collection/gccarc/id/234/rec/16
2Lopez, Maria. "New Instruction Dean a 'First' in Arizona". El Tiempo Pasando. Sept. 5, 1978. Found at: http://azmemory.azlibrary.gov/cdm/singleitem/collection/gccarc/id/253/rec/8
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