History of Moorpark College
Moorpark College was established in 1963 by the Governing Board of the Ventura County Community College District. Soon after, a 134-acre site on Moorpark’s eastern city boundary was secured in a combination donation/purchase from the Strathearns, a local ranching family.
In 1965, taxpayers passed an $8 million bond to build the first phase of the district’s second community college. Construction of the Administration, Library, Science, Technology, Campus Center, Gymnasium and Maintenance buildings began in 1966. With the paint barely dry and remnants of construction rubble still evident, Moorpark College opened on September 11, 1967. Dr. John Collins, the College’s first president, greeted nearly 1,400 students and 50 new faculty members on that day.
Enrollment doubled in the first few years as the College added career technical education to its role of preparing students for transfer to four-year schools. Dr. Robert Lombardi became the College’s second president in 1971. Dr. Ray Hearon held the longest term as president, serving from 1974-1989.
The Moorpark College Foundation was formed in 1980 to spearhead construction of an athletic stadium, amphitheater and observatory. In 1985, the 4,000-seat stadium was named for Paul Griffin, Jr., a local developer and major benefactor. In 1987, the Carlsberg Amphitheater and Charles Temple Observatory were dedicated as part of the College’s 20th anniversary celebration. During the 1980s, several other buildings were completed: Applied Arts, Creative Arts, Humanities/ Social Science, Music, and Student Services. In 1989, the Center for Learning Assistance Services opened for service.
Dr. Stanley Bowers served as president from 1989-1991, followed by Roger Boedecker, who served from 1991-1992. Dr. James Walker became president in 1992, but was called away to serve as Interim Chancellor in 1995. Dr. Darlene Pacheco served as interim president during Walker’s absence from 1995-1996.
Fiscal constraint, brought about by the state’s economic downturn, stalled growth at the College in the early 1990s. Despite hard times, the College completed state-funded construction of the Communications Building (1991) and the Performing Arts Center (1995). The forensics team maintained national ranking while the athletic teams continued to dominate the Western State Conference.
In 1997, the Child Development Center and Disabled Students’ Center were expanded. Also, graphics professor Ted Phillips created a 30th anniversary logo that featured cypress trees and the fountain.
In 1998, two new conference rooms were built in the Campus Center and an acoustic shell was installed on the Main Stage of the Performing Arts Center.
In 1999, the 27,000 square foot Fred Kavli Science Center opened, housing the math, science and computer studies programs. Also, students were first able to access their academic records and register for classes online at: www.moorparkcollege.edu.
In 2000, a high school for high potential juniors and seniors opened on the Moorpark College campus. In 2001, the first High School at Moorpark College graduating class numbered 55. In March of 2002, Ventura County voters passed Measure S, a bond that provided $356 million in construction financing for the Ventura County Community Colleges, of which $104 million was used to renovate/expand Moorpark College.
In July 2002, Dr. Eva Conrad became Moorpark’s eighth president replacing Dr. Walker who retired. Fall 2002 enrollment swelled to 15,400 and work began on a new Library and Learning Resources Center.
In 2004 the college’s first bond project was completed: a parking lot renovation that added 600 spaces. In 2005, the second bond project was completed: the installation of an all-weather track and artificial turf playing field. In September 2005, the new Library/Learning Resources building opened. A new child development center opened in January of 2007.
February 2007 marked the beginning of an endangered butterfly species captive rearing program at America’s Teaching Zoo. The Palos Verdes blue butterfly’s primary rearing site is in San Pedro on government land.
In May 2007, the college unveiled a new seal in preparation for adoption of a new logo. The new logo was adopted at the start of the college’s 40th year in August 2007. The college uses the seal for ceremonial purposes and official transcript documents, and the logo for other college purposes. In Fall 2007, the old library was renovated, renamed Fountain Hall and opened for classes.
In July 2008, Dr. Pam Eddinger became Moorpark’s ninth president, replacing Dr. Conrad who retired. Fall 2008 enrollment grew to 15,800 and construction began on the Health Sciences Center, the Academic Center, and the Exotic Animal Training and Management (EATM) Building, all of which are now open for instruction.
Dr. Bernard Luskin served as interim president from 2013-2014.
In February 2015, Luis P. Sanchez, JD, LLM, became the tenth president of Moorpark College. In Fall 2015, the new Veterans and Foster Youth Resources Centers opened. In Fall 2016, the Guided Pathways for Success program was established with a cohort of 150 students. This first year experience program class currently enrolls 247 students. Benefits include special registration priorities, personalized academic counselors, and a personal success coach to help students navigate through the college.
Beginning Fall of 2017 Moorpark College celebrated 50 years of providing high quality education.
In April 2021, Dr. Julius O. Sokenu became Moorpark's 11th president.
Through its continued attention to quality and innovation, Moorpark College has become one of the top community colleges in the nation. Based on enrollment, Moorpark ranks first in the state for transfer to the University of California and California State University systems. No local college does a better job preparing students for their future. Moorpark College graduates are making meaningful contributions to both the public and private sectors in Ventura County, the state and the nation.