The alpine town of South Lake Tahoe, located on Lake Tahoe's southern end, first expressed an interest in hosting a community college back in 1964, a year before the City of South Lake Tahoe was first established.
On March 5, 1974, voters approved the formation of a community college district with 66% of the vote, and the first Board of Trustees was elected. Dr. James Duke was hired by the Board in September 1974 as the college's first president.
LTCC opened its doors for the first time on Sept. 18, 1975, in a converted motel on Highway 50. In its first year, 119 classes were offered to 1,407 students. The first graduating class of Spring 1976 consisted of 11 students.
The West Campus was opened in Fall 1982. It provided space for a library and three more classrooms in addition to what the Highway 50 campus provided. Eventually an expanded art lab and an intimate "Collegiate Theatre" were also included at the new site. This allowed for more space at the original converted motel campus.
On July 8, 1986, a groundbreaking ceremony was held on the permanent campus site and construction began on the first phase of the college master plan.
The college moved into its present location in October 1988.
Passing the Baton
On June 30, 1990, Dr. James W. Duke, the founding president, retired after overseeing the construction of the first permanent building for the college on Al Tahoe. Dr. Guy Lease was selected as his successor and leader of the next phase of construction at LTCC. After 17 years of exemplary service and overseeing the construction of several new building phases of the college, Dr. Lease retired in 2007. The college hired Dr. Paul T. Killpatrick in July 2008 as the college's third president. Dr. Killpatrick served the college for two years before moving on to another presidency in Washington state. The college's fourth superintendent/president, Dr. Kindred Murillo, was hired in July 2011. Dr. Murillo spearheaded a successful bond campaign called Measure F in November 2014, resulting in $55 million in funding coming to campus over the next 10 years. She also oversaw the acquisition of a $5.8 million donation from South Tahoe local Lisa Maloff, which will result in the Robert and Lisa Maloff University Center coming to LTCC's campus in 2018. This structure will house LTCC's expanding bachelor's degree programs. Dr. Murillo left LTCC to take a presidency position at Southwest College in January 2017. That's when LTCC hired its fifth superintendent/president, Jeff DeFranco. Jeff had served as Vice President of Administrative Services at LTCC since 2013 before taking on his new position.
The Campus Grows
The Child Development Center opened in September 1993 to provide care for 46 children, and for use as a teaching lab for the Early Childhood Education program.
The new Technology Wing was dedicated on Jan. 2, 1996, and the College Theatre opened in March 1996. In June 2005, the theatre was named after LTCC's first president, Dr. James Duke.
With everything but Physical Education now located on the main Al Tahoe campus, the Board decided to lease four moveable classrooms. These "Garden Classrooms" were in place for the fall quarter of 1996, bringing the entire college to one location for the first time.
In 2002, the Physical Education building and Student Center opened. The 26,000-square-foot Physical Education building includes a gymnasium, fitness education center, dance studio, and locker rooms. The culinary arts program moved into its own teaching kitchen in the 10,000-square-foot Student Center.
In 2006, the campus opened a new 27,000-square-foot library and the Haldan Art Gallery. The library was renamed the Roberta L. Mason Library in 2014, in honor of LTCC's first Board of Trustees president, Roberta Mason.
With a new athletic team on the horizon, the coyote was chosen as LTCC's new mascot, while maintaining the original colors of green white, with the addition of blue. The coyote mascot was approved unanimously by the Board of Trustees on June 24, 2014. The college created the shield for athletics and additional logos for college marketing and branding; and in 2016, the coyote mascot came to life and is a regular attendee at soccer games, college and community events, and has made appearances on local TV.
In Fall 1994, LTCC's men's and women's cross-country running teams first competed in the Golden Valley Conference. Thanks to LTCC's Kokanee mascot, cries of "Go Fish!" from fans became common. In the fall of 1995, women's volleyball was added to the intercollegiate athletic program, and the men's cross-country team won first place in the Golden Valley Conference. In 1999, the college added an intercollegiate Nordic ski team to its program.
After years without college athletics, formal sports returned to campus with the launch of the men's and women's intercollegiate soccer teams in Fall 2014. With the new teams came a new logo and mascot - the LTCC Coyote. Both teams are in the Golden Valley Conference. Meet LTCC's coaches and players, and find out more about how athletics can play a part in your college experience.