On Sept. 14, Salt Lake Community College held an official tribute to the school with an outdoor gathering at the Taylorsville Redwood Campus, marking 75 years since the college first opened its doors to students in 1948.
According to a press release, the college – initially a vocational school – received 246 students in 1948, most of whom were World War II veterans using the GI Bill to earn a trade. The school underwent several name changes before deciding in 1987 to call itself Salt Lake Community College. That year, Gov. Norm Bangerter transformed the technical college into a community college.
Throughout 2023, SLCC has displayed a “75 years” insignia on its website and various school materials to mark the three-quarter milestone. The school also commissioned a 75th anniversary billboard along I-15, which can be found near where the interstate crosses 3900 S.
During Thursday’s event, students and employees gathered in person and via livestream to hear from Utah Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, Taylorsville Mayor Kristie Overson, SLCC Trustee Brady Southwick, and SLCC President Deneece Huftalin.
“As we’ve grown, SLCC has proudly become the most diverse higher education institution in the state,” Huftalin told the audience near the top of the event.
Henderson praised the college’s efforts in serving adult learners and nontraditional students, highlighting her own educational journey as an example, which she said took 29 years to complete. She also shared a written declaration from Gov. Spencer Cox, who was unavailable to attend due to out-of-state business.
After the four main speakers gave their addresses, Michael Atkinson, the first student body president at the then-newly named SLCC, and Joyce Wambuyi, the current student body president, unveiled the contents of a time capsule sealed in 1988.
The capsule, the contents of which are reflections of the year the college transformed from a technical college to a community college, was recently found amid ongoing remodeling at the Taylorsville Student Center, said Wambuyi. Among the items retrieved were a multi-signed vase, a student handbook, and newspaper copies of The Salt Lake Tribune and the college’s previous student-run paper, Horizon.
“What’s the headline?” asked one audience member during the unveiling, referring to the Horizon newspaper. “College presidents being audited,” Wambuyi responded as she read, eliciting laughter in the audience.
Once the main portion of the tribute was finished, attendees were free to personally handle and examine all items within the capsule.
Huftalin said that, starting next month and up until January 2024, the Gail Miller School of Business at SLCC will collect items for a new time capsule to be opened in another 75 years.
Anyone who missed the 75th anniversary tribute can watch a recording of the event on SLCC’s YouTube channel.