CGCC Celebrates National Community Colleges Month

Monday, April 1, 2024
Cody the Coyote

April marks National Community College Month, with this year’s theme “Cultivating Skills for the Future.” Community colleges exemplify flexibility and practicality, providing accessible, cost-effective, and high-quality education to students across America. From a là carte training and professional certificates to associate and bachelor’s degrees, community colleges offer diverse academic opportunities for individuals looking to further their higher education goals.

The concept of community college dates back to 1901 when Joliet Junior College became the first institution of its kind in America. William Rainey Harper, president of the University of Chicago, and J. Stanley Brown, superintendent of Joliet Township High School, championed this innovative idea of two-year junior colleges as an alternative to traditional four-year higher education institutions. The idea gained momentum over the years, leading to 14 junior colleges and 32 private junior colleges by 1914. Today, there are 1,026 colleges – 921 public, 36 tribal, and 69 independent – serving as pillars of higher education within their respective communities.

Maricopa Community Colleges have been instrumental in bringing neighborhoods together through education. Since 1920, ten colleges and 31 satellite locations have been established, making Maricopa County a hub for lifelong learning. As one of America’s largest community college systems, Maricopa Community Colleges offers a wide range of programs and services that not only meet the needs of its diverse student population but also cultivate the skills of Arizona’s future workforce.

1985: Chandler-Gilbert Community College Is Established

Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC) traces its roots back to 1985 when it was established as the Chandler-Gilbert Education Center, an extension of MCC serving students in the Southeast Valley. Achieving accreditation to become an independent college in 1992, CGCC has grown to encompass four campuses, offering over 70 certificate and degree programs. As a leader in innovation and technology, CGCC became the first U.S. community college to introduce an Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning program in 2020, with plans to expand to include a bachelor of science program in Fall 2025. 

Cody the Coyote is the college's beloved mascot. Find out more about Cody at