Anniversary

Timeline

  • Original Estrella Mountain employees move into a temporary office to plan for the future college.
    1990

    A community outreach and recruitment program entitled “Project 92” is initiated by the Maricopa Community Colleges.

  • Estrella Mountain Community College Center Groundbreaking Ceremony
    1992

    The Maricopa County Community College District opens Estrella Mountain Community College Center in Avondale, AZ. The campus operates as a satellite location of Glendale Community College.

  • 1993

    Estrella Mountain adopts the service strategy, “Your Success Is Our Success.”

  • 1993

    The College receives Energy Project of the Year award from the International Association of Energy Engineers.

  • Estrella Mountain's rolling arches symbolize the surrounding mountains
    1994

    The College receives the Arthur E. Mann Award for Excellence in Architecture.

  • 1994

    The Genesis West program is established to help enable at-risk high school students attend college.

  • Outdoor sculpture brings art into the public at EMCC
    1994

    Valley Forward Association awards Estrella Mountain the First Place Crescordia Award for Public Art.

  • 1995

    The College’s Vision and Mission are approved by the community and Governing Board.

  • EMCC received the 1995 Governor’s Fitness Center Award for its Fitness Center
    1995

    The Fitness Center is awarded the Arizona Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sport Award.

  • 1995

    Estrella Mountain is recognized by the City of Tolleson for its Service Learning program.

  • Homero Lopez, Ph.D.
    1996

    Homero Lopez, Ph.D. is appointed as Estrella Mountain’s first president.

  • 1996

    College faculty launch the Student Academic Achievement Plan.

  • 1996

    The College hosts its first annual Scholarship Luncheon in honor of student scholarship recipients and donors.

  • 1997 Estrella Mountain Community College Catalog
    1997

    Estrella Mountain receives initial five-year accreditation as an independent institution from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC). Estrella Mountain drops “Center” from its name.

  • The first EMCC commencement ceremony.
    1997

    The College celebrates its first official commencement ceremony.

  • Networking Academy
    1998

    Estrella Mountain establishes the Regional Cisco Networking Academy.

  • 1998

    The College launches the inspire.teach program in response to a national teacher shortage.

  • 1998

    The College adopts the Core Indicators of Effectiveness as measures of institutional effectiveness and student success.

  • 1999 Drive for Success Car Fundraiser
    1999

    The Estrella Rotary Foundation, Avondale Dodge Chrysler Jeep, Gateway Chevrolet, Tom Jones Ford, and Yates Buick GMC partner to support the EMCC Scholarship Endowment with the establishment of the long-running Drive for Success fundraiser to raise scholarship monies. The fundraiser continues to this day with the sustained support of the Rotary, Jones Ford Buckeye, Larry H. Miller Dodge Ram Avondale and Yates Buick GMC.

  • 1999

    The Estrella Mountain Scholarship Endowment is created with an aspirational goal of $1 million.

  • 1999

    A college-wide Student Success Plan is developed to further the goals of student academic achievement.

  • One-Stop Enrollment Services
    2000

    The College opens One-Stop Enrollment Services for service delivery. The successful student services concept wins the League for Innovation’s Innovation of the Year Award for the Maricopa Community Colleges.

  • 2000

    The Center for Teaching and Learning opens to support employee development to improve student success.

  • SouthWest Skill Center Logo
    2000

    Estrella Mountain assumes leadership of the SouthWest Skill Center as part of the College.

  • 2000 Scholarship Luncheon
    2000

    The first major campaign of the Estrella Mountain Scholarship Endowment is launched, as the College enters into a partnership with the Hispanic Leadership Forum to raise scholarship monies.

  • EMCC M.E.Ch.A. Club students
    2001

    The College is designated a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI).

  • 2001

    Estrella Mountain hosts the National Science Foundation Symposium for Hispanic Serving Intuitions.

  • 2001

    The College receives a $2.2 million Title V grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

  • 2002

    Estrella Mountain publishes “Best Practices” for HSI community colleges and hosts a national symposium on the topic.

  • 2002

    The Institution receives its first 10-year accreditation from the HLC.

  • EMCC faculty and staff open the NASA Center and host the first NASA Days
    2002

    The NASA Center for Success in Math and Science is established. The College also hosts Arizona’s first NASA Awareness Day.

  • Construction of the Komatke Hall expansion in 2002
    2002

    Phase Two expansion of the campus is completed with the expansion and remodel of Komatke Hall.

  • 2003

    Estrella Mountain partners with the Dysart Unified School District to bring community education classes to Surprise.

  • 2003

    Estrella Mountain establishes a Visual Exhibition Program to bring fine art shows from local and national artists to campus.

  • 2003

    The College’s scholarship endowment surpasses one-quarter million dollars.

  • EMCC Culinary Studies students prepare meals in the new kitchen
    2004

    Culinary Studies programs begin at the College, which includes the grand opening of Regions, a student-run fine dining restaurant.

  • 2004

    Voters approve the Maricopa Community Colleges general obligation bond program, a district-wide $951 million program. The College receives $71 million allocated for Phase III construction, capital and land as part of a 10-year building program.

  • 2005

    Estrella Mountain Community College begins planning its Phase III expansion under the 2004 Maricopa Community Colleges Bond Program.

  • 2005

    Estrella Mountain Scholarship Endowment grows to exceed one-half million dollars to support student success.

  • 2005

    Estrella Mountain remodels space for a new arts studio and photography lab in order to expand Liberal Arts learning opportunities to West Valley students.

  • “Learning Studio” prototype classrooms radically changed the learning environment for students.
    2005

    The College develops its first “Learning Studio” prototype. Faculty and learners engage in an opportunity to experiment with radical flexibility in space, furnishings and technology.

  • 2006

    Estrella Mountain purchases 80 acres of land in Buckeye to serve as a future campus site.

  • Ocotillo Hall construction
    2006

    Ocotillo Hall opens as the first capital project of the College’s Phase III expansion as part of the 2004 Maricopa Community Colleges Bond Program.

  • 2006

    The College hosts its first Hermanas: Diseña Tu Futuro/Design Your Future conference to help young women explore career opportunities in science and technology. The conference continues today in partnership with Intel.

  • Students learn in the new science labs
    2006

    College science facilities are expanded to include eight new lab spaces.

  • 2006

    Estrella Mountain receives approval from the Arizona Board of Nursing to be a site for the Maricopa Community Colleges Associate of Applied Science Nursing degree.

  • 2006

    The College is selected by the National Science Foundation to receive a grant of nearly $500,000 to support scholarships for students seeking careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.

  • Ernest A. Lara, Ph.D.
    2007

    Ernest A. Lara, Ph.D. is selected as the next college president after a nationwide search. Dr. Lara currently continues to serve as EMCC president, now for nearly a decade.

  • 2007

    Estrella Mountain and Glendale Community College, in conjunction with the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation, partner to honor outstanding contributions by community partners, alumni and student advocates at the annual Awards for Excellence Ceremony.

  • 2007

    The College launches its first annual Day of Learning for faculty and staff learning and development sessions.

  • EMCC bus transit shelter increases campus accessibility
    2008

    Estrella Mountain, in partnership with the City of Avondale, completes a bus transit shelter as part of the 2004 Maricopa Community Colleges Bond Program.

  • 2008 Student Conference
    2008

    Estrella Mountain hosts the first annual Student Conference focused on undergraduate research. The conference is structured like a graduate student conference, with speakers, break-out panels and scholarly discussions, and continues today.

  • Inaugural edition of the EMCC Mariposa Literary Review
    2008

    Publication of the annual Mariposa Literary Review begins to feature creative writing and fine art created by students.

  • 2008

    The College expands educational offerings by offering classes in both Buckeye and the Wickenburg area.

  • 2008

    The College receives its second Title V grant for $2.8 million from the U.S. Department of Education to provide educational opportunities for all students and to assist the college in becoming a Learning College.

  • 2009

    A Veterans Services office is established to provide specialized support and services active military, veteran and veteran dependent students.

  • Estrella Mountain Lions Mascot
    2009

    Students select the Estrella Mountain Lions as the College’s mascot after a student-led nomination, research and voting process.

  • 2009

    Estrella Mountain Scholarship Endowment continues to grow with the College’s partnership with the Hispanic Leadership Forum, which raises more than $50,000 since 2000.

  • 2009

    The College creates a Business Retention Internship program that provides real-world business training and experiences to students.

  • 2009

    The student Peer Mentor program is established.

  • 2009

    The Maricopa Nursing program at Estrella Mountain receives the maximum accreditation of eight years upon completion of an accreditation visit from the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC).

  • Mariposa Hall
    2010

    Mariposa Hall opens as part of the College’s continued Phase II expansion as part of the 2004 Maricopa Community Colleges Bond Program The project also includes a remodel of the SouthWest Skill Center. Mariposa Hall is awarded with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) – Gold Certification for its environmentally-responsible design and construction.

  • 2010

    In partnership with the West Valley Think Tank and local high school districts, elementary schools, ASU West, and other Maricopa Colleges, Estrella Mountain hosts the Building Math Connections P-20 Conference.

  • Aspen Institute Award
    2010

    The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program ranks Estrella Mountain in the top 10 percent of community colleges nationwide for the first time.

  • EMCC men's cross country team competes in the 2010 George Kyte Invitational.
    2010

    Estrella Mountain launches its first athletics programs in men’s and women’s golf and cross country.

  • 2010

    The College adopts new Vision, Mission and Core Values statements, which reflect the learning-centered philosophy of the College and community needs.

  • Avondale Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers and EMCC President Dr. Ernest Lara cut the ribbon at the grand opening dedication ceremony of the Northwest Public Safety Facility.
    2010

    In partnership with City of Avondale, the Northwest Public Safety Facility opens to house Estrella Mountain classrooms, facilities for campus Public Safety personnel, and an Avondale police substation and fire station.

  • 2011

    Estrella Mountain’s Scholarship Endowment achieves a milestone by exceeding $1 million.

  • 2011

    The EMCC Career and Transfer Center opens to support student and community job-readiness and university transfer.

  • Buckeye Educational Center Opening
    2011

    In partnership with the Town of Buckeye, the Estrella Mountain Community College Buckeye Educational Center opens to provide learning opportunities to far West Valley students.

  • 2011

    The SouthWest Skill Center Practical Nursing program receives continued accredition for the maximum of five years from the Arizona State Board of Nursing. 

  • EMCC students march in the 2012 Tale of Two Cities Parade and Festival
    2012

    The College serves as the site for the first Tale of Two Cities Parade and Festival, presented by the cities of Avondale and Goodyear in celebration of Arizona’s centennial. The annual community event continues today.

  • 2012

    The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program ranks Estrella Mountain in the top 10 percent of community colleges nationwide for the second time.

  • 2012

    Estrella Mountain receives the maximum continued 10-year reaccreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, including approval of the Buckeye Educational Center as an official extended campus site and approval for the College to award degrees and certificates earned through online learning.

  • Students in the inaugural Fire Academy
    2012

    Estrella Mountain launches its Fire Academy in partnership with the cities of Avondale and Goodyear to fulfill much-needed resources for firefighter training and certification to the Southwest Valley.

  • Student Union
    2012

    The College opens a new Student Union to address the needs of a growing student population and provide meeting areas for college clubs and organizations.

  • 2012

    Estrella Mountain establishes a student body-run Student Government.

  • 2012

    The College’s first alumni advisory council is formed.

  • 2012

    The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) awards Estrella Mountain with a bronze rating for its Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) report.

  • 2012

    EMCC helps secure a $13.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to fulfill the workforce needs of the energy and mining industries through the Arizona Sun Corridor Get Into Energy Consortium (ASC-GIEC).

  • Estrella Hall Expansion
    2013

    The College opens the remodel and expansion of Estrella Hall, including the new Estrella Conference Center, as part of the final phase of the 2004 Maricopa Community Colleges Bond Program.

  • Students construct burrowing owl habitats.
    2013

    Biology students collaborate to create the EMCC Burrowing Owl Project, a learning initiative to construct on-campus habitats for displaced, indigenous burrowing owls.

  • 2013

    EMCC President Dr. Ernest A. Lara receives the West Valley Foundation’s 2014 Diversity Award for contributions to diversity and support of education.

  • Students declare their graduation goals at the inaugural Student Success Fair.
    2013

    The College creates the first Student Success Fair to provide students with a hands-on opportunity to learn about success resources and establish completion goals. Almost 1,000 students participate in the inaugural exposition-style event, which continues today to serve thousands of students and has expanded across the Maricopa Community Colleges.

  • 2013

    The Estrella Mountain women’s golf team hosts the college’s first Arizona Community College Athletic Conference tournament.

  • 2013

    For the third consecutive year, EMCC was identified as one of the nation’s 150 best community colleges by the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program.

  • 2013

    EMCC premieres the first issue of its online student newsmagazine, The Lion’s Perspective, which features articles and opinions written entirely by Estrella Mountain students.

  • Veterans Center Grand Opening ceremony
    2013

    To provide quality service to a growing population of veteran and military students, EMCC remodels existing space into a dedicated Veterans Center. EMCC is also recognized in the top 15 percent of institutions nationwide that show dedication to the success of America’s military service members, veterans and dependents as students.

  • Roary the Estrella Mountain Lion
    2013

    EMCC students submit nominations and vote to name the College’s mountain lion mascot Roary. The costumed mascot debuts during the Estrella Hall grand opening festivities.

  • 2014

    EMCC hosts more than 100 students during the national Tour for Diversity in Medicine Conference, the only event in Arizona, to engage students in science, technology, engineering, and math careers.

  • Crescordia Award for Site Development and Landscape
    2014

    Estrella Mountain receives the Crescordia Award for Site Development and Landscape in the Public Sector category of the 2014 Arizona Forward Environmental Excellence Awards for the sustainable construction and landscape design of the Estrella Hall expansion and Estrella Conference Center. The college is also recognized with an award as the Arizona Recycling Coalition’s School of the Year for sustainable practices.

  • Get Into Energy Education Expo
    2014

    As lead college of the Arizona Sun Corridor–Get Into Energy Consortium, EMCC hosts the two-day Arizona Get Into Energy Education Expo at the Arizona Science Center to increase awareness of energy career education and employment opportunities for students and the community.

  • Community members participate in the Veterans Day Fun Run.
    2014

    EMCC collaborates with the City of Avondale and the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation to host the inaugural Veterans Day Fitness Fun Run 5K to benefit veteran and military student scholarships. The community event continues today.

  • Graduates join the inaugural Alumni Association at the 2015 Commencement Ceremony.
    2015

    The College officially launches the Estrella Mountain Community College Alumni Association to connect the network of proud graduates.

  • 2015

    EMCC receives the first National Centers of Academic Excellence designation in Cyber Defense for a two-year institution (CAE2Y) in Arizona, awarded by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

  • 2015

    EMCC receives the 2015 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine in recognition of an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.

  • Premiere of the EMCC Performing Arts Center
    2015

    Estrella Mountain celebrates the premiere of the new Performing Arts Center (PAC) with grand opening festivities and a community celebration over two days, featuring tours, activities and live performances by EMCC students, local school and community ensembles, and national performers.

  • 2015

    The College is jointly recognized as a recipient of the Western Maricopa Coalition (WESTMARC) Excellence in Innovation Best of the West Award along with Western Maricopa Education Center (West-MEC) and Arizona Public Services Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station for its partnership to create the West-MEC Southwest Energy Partners Campus in Buckeye.

  • Students volunteer at the 2016 Alternative Spring Break.
    2016

    Students and employees participate in the first EMCC Alternative Spring Break, completing nearly 370 combined volunteer hours for a community service learning project.

  • West-MEC Partner Campus Opening
    2016

    Estrella Mountain partners with West-MEC to open a satellite college location at their Southwest Campus in Buckeye. The EMCC West-MEC location offers student services and houses classes for students pursuing manufacturing, distribution, energy, and information technology security degrees.

  • 2016

    The women’s cross country team is named to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Cross Country Scholar All America Team, ranking 21st in the nation.

  • 2016 EMCC Commencement Ceremony
    2016

    Estrella Mountain confers a record number of associate degree and certificate awards to 499 graduates at the 20th Annual Commencement Ceremony, the highest number of graduates in the college’s history.

  • 2016

    Estrella Mountain is recognized by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program as one of the nation’s top 150 community colleges for the fourth time. EMCC is the only community college in Arizona selected in all cycles of the award since it was announced in 2011.

  • 2016

    The College receives its third Title V grant for $2.6 million from the U.S. Department of Education to create pathways for developmental education student success and increase completion rates for students.

  • 2016

    EMCC receives the 2016 West Valley Art Council Lifetime Achievement Award for dedication to growing arts programs for students, support of the Gallery 37 program, and the new Performing Arts Center.

  • EMCC 25th Anniversary logo
    2017

    Estrella Mountain celebrates 25 years of serving students and the community.Learn more about the College's special anniversary events.