Whatcom Community College faculty photo

Focus on 50 Celebrates History of Whatcom Community College

The Whatcom Museum is pleased to present Focus on 50, an exhibition dedicated to the 50th anniversary of Whatcom Community College.

A stroll through the exhibit tells the story of how the country’s first “college without walls” grew to become a college without limits. Now, the school ranks among the top 150 community and technical colleges in the United States.

The exhibit features a photo archive of the college’s experimental roots: classes held in an abandoned supermarket on Marine Drive; a tin shed in Boulevard Park turned “crafts studio” (now Woods Coffee); the “Whatcom on Wheels” bookmobile that toured the county.

It also includes artifacts from the college’s past, from the first computers to early examples of the course catalogs. There’s also the original hand-carved wooden signs that identified Whatcom’s rented spaces from Blaine to Bellingham.

With its mission to provide access to a college education to everyone in Whatcom County, Whatcom Community College evolved from decentralized “satellite centers” to a beautiful 72-acre campus in Bellingham’s Cordata neighborhood.

Come see the stories of the educational pioneers whose vision guided the college from a radical concept to a nationally recognized center for innovation.

If you live in Whatcom County, the odds are strong that either you or someone you know has been touched by Whatcom Community College. The college has been transforming lives and building our communities for 50 years. Come share the story of the college’s remarkable journey and celebrate a half-century of turning dreams into reality.

The exhibition will remain at Old City Hall through May 31. It then moves to Whatcom Community College’s campus. Learn more about WCC’s year-long 50th anniversary celebration at whatcom.edu/50.

–Written by Bob Winters, Arts & Humanities Division Chair, Whatcom Community College