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The Story of GCC:
The Electric 1980s

Eighties era photograph of students using computers.
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The Electric 1980s

Welcome to the New Age

Early photograph of the GCC High Tech Center

In the 1980s, the GCC campus entered the computer age. This radical shift had a transformative effect both for the campus and GCC students. As computer courses and programs flourished, early computers invaded the campus and classroom. In the Student Lounge, Gauchos entertained themselves with video games such as Pac Man, Defender, and Q*bert. Still, this college transformation was just one of many milestones accomplished during the decade as Glendale strode forward despite budget cuts to find success in both academics and sport. All this and more can be found below through the images, stories, and historical documents of GCC's Electric 1980s.


The Dawn of the Computer Era

During the 1980s, the computer age swept through the campus. Seemingly overnight, computers were everywhere fundamentally altering both college and the classroom. The eighties generation of college students were the first to experience the full impact of this radical educational transformation. Below are photographs of both the time and technology.

The Computer Classroom

The Computer Classroom

With the arrival of computers came the advent of the computer classroom. This photograph showcases a computer classroom of the era where students at computers listen to a professor lecturing at the front of the room.


Disk Checkout

Disk Checkout

Before the cloud, before flash drives, DVDs, and CDs. Even before the 3.5in disks (ie save icon), there was the 5.25-inCH floppy disk. These disks were vital to both booting computers and running programs. In this 1984 photograph, students are gathered at a disk checkout station eager to check out disks to run early computer applications.


Early GCC Computer Lab

Early GCC Computer Lab

This photograph shows an Eighties era computer lab with numerous GCC students busy at work.


Student at an Early Computer

Student at an Early Computer

Pictured here is a student using an early computer to improve her typing. Computers have come a long way since this time period. In the Eighties these systems lacked both the World Wide Web and many of the applications we currently take for granted.


1984 Color Photograph of a Student at the Computer

1984 Color Photograph of a Student at the Computer

This photo shows a student working on an early computer. Note that the computer screen is entirely black with green colored text. This was typical of most early computers that lacked significant graphic and display capabilities.


High Tech Preparation

High Tech Preparation

In order to accommodate the technological and student demand, GCC needed a computer lab. With this in mind, GCC built the High Tech Center that stands today. This early photo shows the High Tech Center just as the computers had arrived and were being readied for the GCC student use.


Completed High Tech Center

Completed High Tech Center

Here is a sweeping shot of the early High Tech Center. The High Tech Center has supported the technological needs of students from its opening in 1987 until today.


View From Within the High Tech Center

View From Within the High Tech Center

This open lab area in the High Tech Center was affectionately referred to as "The Pit".

The GCC Library of 1985

In the movie "Back to the Future", main character Marty McFly travels from his present 1985 to the futuristic 2015. We wondered how much has changed at the GCC Library in the thirty years since 1985. With this in mind, we present this collection of GCC Library photos from 1985. See any differences?

Entering the Library

Entering the Library

A student smiles as she enters the library through large wooden doors. This was the main entrance to the GCC Library. Embedded inside the door are a variety of colors of stained glass. These same colors were used in the metal and glass shaded entranceways of the current GCC Library.


Studying at the GCC Library

Studying at the GCC Library

This photo depicts students studying in the library. Note the number of books each student has stacked in front of them. Current library researchers can find a great deal of information through online library databases in addition to physical print books. However, during this era, print was by far the predominant means for transmitting thoughts and ideas.


Students at Typewriters in the GCC Library

Students Work at Typewriters in the GCC Library

Similar to today, many students came to the GCC Library to type a paper. However, during this era, students used unforgiving typewriters as opposed to today's computers equipped with Microsoft Word. Unfortunately, typewriters did not come equipped with a spell check feature. Typing mistakes forced a person to either start over or employ liquid paper to hide the errors.


Studying at the GCC Library, The Reference Desk

Studying at the GCC Library - The Reference Desk

Students seek answers to research questions at the GCC Library Reference Desk. In the background, the GCC Library card catalog can be seen. Before computers, students and faculty located books by perusing wooden drawers filled with cards arranged alphabetically by author, title, or subject.


GCC Library's Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC)

GCC Library's Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC)

Before the widespread advent of the World Wide Web and full-text searching, students used this basic system to search for books and other materials. This is the initial search page of the OPAC that lists the command prompts required to indicate the type of search to be performed. For instance, for subject searching "s=" was entered followed by the subject heading. For title searches, "t=" was entered followed by the desired title. For author searches, "a=" followed by the author's last and first names was required. These first generation OPACs, as they are now referred, were designed to mirror the library's card catalog system which also divided information into the same categories.


Library Media

Library Media

The media area contained a variety of audiovisual materials including tapes, film, cassettes, and a variety of other formats. In the photo, a librarian is operating a large film projector while another student listens to headphones and views the film.


Researching at the Library - Indexes

Researching at the Library - Indexes

A student takes notes from a published magazine index, possibly The Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature. Modern students often find magazine and journal articles for research assignments using library databases or search engines. During this era, these one-stop search systems did not exist. Students used published indexes that focused on general topics or specific fields. After they located a relevant article in an index, they noted the magazine or journal name, its date, and the page numbers. Students either located the article in bound volumes of the magazine or journal or used microfilm or microfiche to view a photo of the article.


Researching at the Library - Microfiche Readers

Researching at the Library - Microfiche Readers

A student takes notes from a national newspaper index. This index was likely stored on technology known as microfiche. During this era, students would often view indexes and items stored on microfiche, which essentially are sheets of film that students could enlarge and display on a microfiche reader.


Students Reading

Students Reading

Students read in the Leisure Reading section of the Eighties era library.

Eighties Photo Collections

Fortunately, the 1980s were a well photographed decade. Below you will find a number of photos taken during this era.

Community Day 1

Community Day 2

Community Day

Multiple photos taken during the Glendale Community College Community Day held on November 21st, 1981 (from 9am until 12pm). The event was hosted by Channel 12 TV personality Dewey Hopper who, handed out two $50 college scholarships donated by the Day and Evening Student Governments. Additional door prizes featured at the event included displays, demonstrations, tours, entertainment, and refreshments. Also at the event was artwork by artist Shirley Hetzger, music by the college Jazz Ensemble, one-act plays from the acting class, songs by the College Gospel Ensemble, and free coffee, doughnuts, and Dr. Pepper. 1


Dedication ceremony for the GCC Automotive Technology Complex 1

Dedication ceremony for the GCC Automotive Technology Complex 2

Dedication Ceremony for the GCC Automotive Technology Complex

Many of the photographs in this collection were taken at the dedication ceremony for the GCC Automotive Technology Complex. The $250,000 Automotive Technology Complex featured 25,000 square feet of open-air bays, classrooms, and a machine shop. This building represents the new Automotive Service Educational Program (ASEP), which began alongside the building's dedication. This program was designed in conjunction with General Motors who also donated a '84 Pontiac Fiero for the event. This program allowed students to obtain an associate of arts degree in applied science for automotive technology and be placed with GM dealers throughout the Southwest. It marked a major milestone for the college and the ASEP program continues to this day. In attendance during the ceremony was Glendale Community College President Dr. John R. Waltrip, Phillip Randolph (Automotive Technology Chairperson, Dean of Occupational Education, and Future GCC President), Jake Kane (General Motors Manager of Training and Development in Detroit), and numerous notable people.2


Veterans Service Center

Veterans Service Center

This photo was taken in the Veterans Service Center at the college. GCC has always supported a large amount of veteran students.


Financial Aids

Financial Aids

This photo of the Financial Aids office was taken around 1985. The Financial Aid Office has long helped students pay for college by assisting them to find grants, scholarships, and loans.


1980s Registration

1980s Registration

This collection of photos depicts the registration process for students in 1985. During this era, the Enrollment Center was not yet in place nor did students have ready access to computers and the internet. Therefore, much of this work took place in the current Student Union and was completed by hand.


Eighties Campus Candids

Eighties Campus Candids

Just like the students of today, the students of the 1980s gathered on campus to enjoy camaraderie and community. These candid shots of students during the eighties depict campus life outside of the classroom where friendships were formed and lasting bonds were made.

GCC In the News

In the 1980s, student reporters covered a wide range of stories. They covered campus issues such as budget cuts, parking, martial arts programs, fun at the state fair, a controversial capstone course, and the safety of GCC fallout shelters3. They also lent their voices to broader national issues such as Apartheid, AIDS, Reaganomics, the War on Drugs, and Hulkamania. For all these stories and more, take a look at the College Voice's issues of the era.

GCC Student Newspaper Image of the Era

The Traveler


GCC Traveler Image of the Era

During the decade, The Traveler won several Columbia Scholastic Press' Medalists Awards, the highest honor given by the association.4 Throughout the decade, GCC students continued this rich tradition of literary and artistic excellence. Below are links to the Eighties issues of this premier and award-winning student literary magazine.

Student Bulletins

Today colleges often send important messages to students through large email blasts or social media. However, even during the Eighties, the college had important messages it needed to relay to its students. To do so, the college would send out student bulletins to inform students of the different activities and events happening during that time. These student bulletins began during the inception of the college and lasted until 1985. Below are the final issues of the GCC Student Bulletin that were printed and distributed across the campus.

GCC Student Bulletin Image of the Era

Course Catalogs

GCC Course Catalogs Image of the Era

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

Graduations

Below are the commencement programs for 1980s, and within them are the names of both faculty and students of the graduating year. From 1985 onward, video recordings were also made of each GCC graduation. Therefore, you may also view video of the graduations from 1985 to 1990 using the video links below.

GCC Commencement Program Image of the Era

Next Chapter: The Millennial 1990s

 

 


1“Glendale Community College Student Services Courier (formerly "Student Bulletin"), 1981-82, Volume 01, Numbers 01-12; Volume 02, Numbers 01-10. November 04, 1981 - April 27, 1982 Found at http://azmemory.azlibrary.gov/cdm/ref/collection/gccarc/id/224
2Liljegren, Lynn and Eileen Cohn. "'84 Fiero Revs Up Auto Complex". The Voice, Special Preview Issue 1984-1985, Vol II . Found at: http://azmemory.azlibrary.gov/cdm/singleitem/collection/gccarc/id/251
3Anderson, Debra. "Campus Fallout Shelters Meet Minimum Standards". The Voice, February 26, 1981. . Found at: http://azmemory.azlibrary.gov/cdm/singleitem/collection/gccarc/id/235/rec/103
4Bennington, Rene. "Campus Literary Magazine Seeks New Material". The Voice, September 8, 1986. . Found at: http://azmemory.azlibrary.gov/cdm/singleitem/collection/gccarc/id/243/rec/6
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