Public higher education came relatively late to Tulsa.
In April 1969, state lawmakers addressed the lack of a public post-secondary institution for Tulsa area residents by chartering Tulsa Junior College. The creation of TJC, a two-year college, provided access to public higher education for thousands of people.
The College’s Board of Regents met in May 1969.
And in August appointed Dr. Alfred M. Philips as TJC's founding president. The selection of Dean P. VanTrease as executive vice president and the addition of administrators, faculty and support staff followed as the College prepared for opening day.
TJC’s doors opened
To a first class of 2,796 students on Sept. 14, 1970. The original campus consisted of three floors of leased space in the Sinclair Oil Building, 909 South Boston. TJC opened its doors with 50 classrooms, 48 full-time and 106 part-time instructors and 15-hour class days.
The Student Affairs Committee
TJC’s original student government organization, received official status in 1971. The College presented its first eleven graduates with their degrees on May 28, 1971. The TJC student newspaper published its first edition on Oct. 19, 1971.
The Capping Ceremony
For TJC’s first nursing class was held in spring 1972. The program has since grown to provide more than 100 new registered nurses for the Tulsa area each year. Special Programs non-credit classes were added to TJC’s academic programming in spring 1972. Fifty classes were offered and filled immediately with 1,175 enrollments.
Multi-campus master plan
The College acquired 80 acres of land at the corner of Harvard and Apache to develop the second element of the multi-campus master plan in 1973.
The College purchased the Sinclair Oil Building and adjacent property to serve as a permanent location for the Metro Campus. The entire six-floor structure was completely remodeled over the next two years.
Enrollment at Tulsa Junior College stood at 6,169, up from the fall 1970 opening enrollment of 2,796 students.
Career counseling and instruction programs
In order to meet the growth of its student population, TJC leased three floors of additional space in the State Office Complex and hired more than 40 additional faculty members in 1976. Shuttle buses ran between the Metro Campus and the State Office Complex. In just five years, the graduating class at TJC grew from 11 to 444. To streamline student services, the College added computer assisted career counseling and instruction programs to provide students with help outside the classroom.
Diagnostic and Prescriptive Learning Center
Fully committed to accessible higher education all, TJC’s Diagnostic and Prescriptive Learning Center for students with disabilities opened in 1977. Later renamed the DisABLED Student Resource Center, the facility offers a variety of academic support services and adaptive technology for students with disabilities.
The Northeast Campus
The Northeast Campus, which would eventually house a cadre of engineering and industrial programs, began to take shape on 80 acres at the corner of Harvard and Apache in 1978.
The Northeast Campus opened its doors to approximately 500 students in January 1979. Students who had taken fall classes in temporary classrooms at Douglas Elementary School were pleased to initiate the new campus. TJC added telecourses to supplement on-campus instructional programs in fall 1979. On-campus enrollment exceeded 9,000 and telecourse enrollment totaled 554 that year.