50 Years. Countless Success Stories.
In 1967, Valencia College was founded on the simple belief that, as a community, we can dare to do great things. Now, 50 years later, students have become teachers; apprentices have become supervisors; dreams have become reality. Because of you – the diverse and vital community we’re so proud to serve – our students can visualize and achieve brighter futures. Thank you for being the kind of community that fosters and encourages opportunity.
Jim Gollattscheck, Valencia’s second president, talks about Valencia’s early days and what it’s been like to see the college grow from 12 portables and a muddy parking lot to six campuses and 70,000 students.
50 Years of Better Tomorrows
The story of Valencia College, from a modest beginning to real, lasting impact in the Central Florida community.
See how far we’ve come. Read More
Through innovative ideas that have made it one of the nation’s leading community colleges, Valencia helps to transform lives and communities.
Driven by a belief that “anyone can learn anything under the right circumstances,” Valencia instituted several innovative strategies to improve academic performance for students in their critical first year of college. The success of these reforms earned Valencia the inaugural Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence in 2011, as the “best community college in the nation.” Through our degree and certification programs, students learn the skills and abilities needed to support their families.
Students and Employers depend on Valencia to evolve its programs based on jobs that are in high demand.
With guidance from 600 business and industry advisory panel members, Valencia tailors its classes and programs for sustainable jobs that are in high demand. Examples include nursing, advanced manufacturing, construction and energy management technology.
For 50 years, Valencia has assured access to college for all students, no matter their background.
Valencia opened the doors of opportunity to everyone when it opened in 1967. Fifty years later, Valencia is fourth in the U.S. in the number of associate degrees awarded to students—51 percent to minority students. Many of our students are the first in their families to attend college. From degree programs to career certifications, Valencia puts higher education – and the opportunity for higher wages – within reach for every Central Florida resident.
Today, Valencia has become the college of choice by the majority of college students in Central Florida.
More than twice as many high school graduates in Orange and Osceola counties start college at Valencia than start at all state universities combined. A more affordable alternative to state universities and private colleges, Valencia gives more students an opportunity to earn a quality education and enables students who will seek bachelor’s degrees to save money during their first two years.
We’re excited to see what we can accomplish together in the next 50 years.
Valencia Junior College sign
Clipping of school newspaper article announcing opening of Valencia Junior College in 1967
Student Government Officers at Valencia's first facility on Oak Ridge Road
Aerial of Mid-Florida Tech at Oak Ridge Road where Valencia Junior College first opened its doors
Valencia's early leadership team included Raymer Maguire Jr. (third from left) and James Gollattscheck (center), who served as the college's second president
Students walking to portables at Oak Ridge Road facility
Charter Advisory Board at Valencia's inaugural commencement
Student lounge sign at Oak Ridge Road facility
Valencia Junior College parking lot, Oak Ridge Road site.
Valencia Junior College portables at Oak Ridge Road site
Nursing students, 1970
Delta Burke, Miss Florida 1974, participates in the groundbreaking for East Campus
Choral ensemble rehearsal
Valencia Community College baseball team, 1977
West Campus childcare center, 1974
Early morning physical education class, West Campus
Valencia basketball, 1977
Valencia Community College cheerleading squad
Charlie Jean Salter, professor of biology
Valencia ballet studio at the newly-opened East Campus
Student training in dental hygiene program
Allied Health students practicing emergency medical techniques
Music class at East Campus
Construction of building 2, West Campus
Members of Valencia Community College softball team
Student in math tutoring center
College theater production of "Antony and Cleopatra"
Valencia College charter board member Raymer Maguire, Jr.
First Lady Rosalynn Carter presents President Gollattscheck with a National Landscape Award
Julia Ribley (left) and Volunteers for International Student Activities
Early Valencia leadership from left, Raymer Maguire, Jr., Jane Scroggs, and Albert T. Craig (1970s)
Pearl Bailey visits Valencia
Mayor Bill Frederick presenting a good citizenship award at city hall
Science can require a lot of patience
Dick Batchelor (right) became the youngest official elected to the Florida House of Representatives just four years after graduating from Valencia
Matador Day, East Campus
Switchboard operators field incoming calls
Art students gather around graphic design professor, East Campus
Experimenting with early computing and robotics
Now that's what we call "higher education"
Archery practice on West Campus
Students on the breezeway at West Campus
Rev. Jesse Jackson visits Valencia College
Theater production, East Campus
Former President Gerald Ford speaks at "Salute to the Constitution" event on West Campus in 1987
Nurse pinning administered by professor Susie Forehand
More expansion on West Campus
Lovely day on Lake Pamela
Three Valencia Presidents
Dean of Student Affairs Bob Holland in the dunk tank
WESH 2's Bill Shafer on assignment at Valencia
President Gianini takes the Panavision for a test drive on East
Future Congresswoman Val Demings keeping the peace in The City Beautiful
Figure Drawing taught by art professor Nancy Jay
Film students try out a camera lift
A Thrilling Matador Day, East Campus
Valencia photographer Don Burlinson taking an early airborne selfie
Soldering with a smile
In the age of floppy disks
Biology professor Dave Smith and age-old pedagogical technique of pointing
Film Student flexing serious costume design muscle
Dancing through the breezeway
The grunge era begins
Construction underway at the new Osceola Campus, 1996
Olé! Flamenco Dancing between classes
First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton pays a visit to Valencia
Art professor Michael Galletta crafting pottery
Sporting sports threads circa '96
Administrative work in the president's office
Artist with ready-to-hang piece
Bill Gates visiting Valencia in the Windows 95 era
Theater troupe takes a bow
Blair Witch Project producer Gregg Hale returns to his alma mater Valencia
Book signing with Carl Hiaasen
Condoleezza Rice speaks at Valencia
Theatre students in a production of Dracula
Rev. Jesse Jackson shakes hands with College President Sandy Shugart
Students leafs through a copy of the latest Phoenix Arts Magazine
Ribbon cutting at the Walt Disney World Center for Hospitality and Culinary Arts
Cirque du Valencia
Dr. Shugart shares laughs with culinary program faculty
Governor Jeb Bush speaks at Valencia
Some playful sparring by Lake Pamela
#Winning before there was hashtags
TV Personality John Stossel signing his latest
Learning on the lawn at west campus
Instruction on proper gator handling technique
Relaxing at the Osceola clock tower
Theatre tech student preps actor for a production of Bat Boy
Oil on canvas at East Campus
Modern Jazz legend Sam Rivers plays for Valencia
Burning calories with Tae Bo