Our History

MJC Class of 1923 class photo

MJC class of 1923

In 1921, California passed legislation that allowed for the creation of community college districts. The new legislation allowed Modesto Junior College (the 16th oldest community college) to become the first-ever California community college district. The birth of MJC launched the current model of California community colleges that continued to offer trade studies such as mechanical and industrial arts in addition to general education. MJC began with roughly 70 students.  Today, the college is home to over 25,000 students.

Interesting facts about MJC

  • MJC’s first classes were held at a local high school until the first building, South Hall, was completed in December of 1923.
  • South Hall was built for $93,000.  The project was funded through a local sales tax of 50 cents.
  • MJC’s planned location is where John Thurman Field is located today.
  • The first-ever California community college transfer student was from Modesto Junior College and transferred to Stanford University in 1922.  
  • MJC is home to 1 of only 15 Bachelor Degree programs offered at a California community college.
  • MJC is home to some notable celebrity alumni including:
    • Dot Jones - Athlete & Actress (Olympian, Glee, Married with Children) 
    • Ray Lankford - Professional Baseball Player (St. Louis Cardinals, San Diego Padres)
    • George Lucas - Writer, Director, Producer (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, American Graffiti)
    • Gino Marchetti - Professional Football Player (Baltimore Colts, NFL Hall of Fame)
    • Jeff Moorad - Professional Sports Agent, Owner San Diego Padres
    • Lindsey Pearce, Actress (Glee Project, Glee, Wicked on Broadway)
    • Jeremy Renner-Actor (SWOT, Avengers, The Town, Hurt Locker)
    • Kim Ulrich-Actress (Passions, Wings)
    • Robert Ulrich-Casting Director (Melrose Place, Glee, Dexter)