Fifty Years To First - Celebrating 50 Years

1965

Santa Fe Junior College Established

The Florida State Legislature established Santa Fe Junior College in 1965 to offer wide access to quality higher education for citizens of Alachua and Bradford Counties.

Junior College photo

1966

First Santa Fe College President

Joseph W. Fordyce became SF's founding president until 1971. He made the college into a national model and instilled it with his philosophy: "that all who will may learn."

Joseph Fordyce photo

Buchholz Junior/Senior High School

Santa Fe Junior College opens in the former Buchholz Junior/Senior High School in the fall of 1966. The first year's enrollment was 889 students.

old-buchholz photo

1968

Thomas Hotel leases to SF

The former Thomas Hotel leased its buildings and grounds to Santa Fe Junior College for seven years while its campus was being built across town in west Gainesville.

Thomas Hotel photo

1969

Little School Opens its Doors

Santa Fe Junior College officially opens the doors to a new child care facility known as "The Little School." The Little School provides a safe, enriched, stimulating and loving learning environment for toddlers and preschool children.

Inaugural Spring Arts Festival

The Santa Fe College Spring Arts Festival held its inaugural celebration of creativity festival in Gainesville. The festival continues to this day and is the longest running arts festival in North Central Florida.

1971

Second Santa Fe College President

Alan J. Robertson is appointed the second SF president. He was SF's president for 19 years, stretching from 1971-1990.

Robertson photo

Police Academy Established

Santa Fe Community College begins its first Institute of Public Safety Police Academy. IPS continues to serve the community today by providing education and training for law enforcement.

Police photo

1972

SFCC Moves to Northwest Campus

Buildings A, B, D, F and G are erected as Santa Fe Community College moves into its new home at the Northwest Campus. NW 83rd Street is visible in the top of the photo.

Northwest Campus photo

Teaching Zoo Opens

The one-of-a-kind Teaching Zoo opens at Santa Fe Community College in 1972, giving students a unique learning opportunity.

Zoo photo

1973

Enrollment Continues to Increase

In just seven years after its opening, Santa Fe Community College's enrollment surpasses 5,000 students.

1974

High School Dual Enrollment

SF begins a High School Dual Enrollment program that allows local high school students to enroll in classes at SF to jumpstart their college career.

1975

President's Recognition Event

Staff get together for the "President's Recognition" in 1975. Seated in front are Ceil Layfield, Frank Lagotic, Ann Ritch, and Marry Ann Linzameyer; standing in the back include Jeff Tennant, John Dumbauld, and John Dykes.

President's recognition photo

1978

Santa Fe Gallery Established

SF opens the "Community Gallery of Art" in 1978. Today, it is officially referred to as the "Santa Fe Gallery."

1980

Student Enrollment Doubles

The college's enrollment grows to 10,000 students in the year of 1980.

1982

Honors Program Initiated

The Honors Program was started at SF in 1982. Faculty member Suellyn Winkle is pictured at Northwest Campus with Honors students.

Honors program photo

1984

First President’s Recognition Award

The first "President’s Recognition Award" event took place in 1984. Some of those attending included Martha Bell, Richard Peterson, Bob Short, Bruce Walek, Joan Golliday, Azza Guertin, Jean Klein, Warren Nielsen, Jim Bradshaw, Tom O’Neal, Joe McGrath, and Leon Ellis.

President’s Recognition Award photo

1985

Northwest Campus Continues to Grow

The parking lots are filled as seen in this aerial view of Northwest Campus in 1985.

Aerial view photo

Starke Center Opens in Bradford Co.

In 1985, SF opens an educational center in the former Bradford County Courthouse known as the "Starke Center." Later, the name will change in honor of Guy Andrews.

Andrews Center photo

1989

Blount Center is Constructed

A downtown Gainesville educational center was built in 1989, named after Charles L. Blount, and opened its doors to students in 1990. Some of those attending the dedication were E.T. York, Vam York, Joanne Kniffen, William Chesnut, Bob Rowe, Charles Blount and Howard McCluney.

Blount Center photo

1990

Third Santa Fe College President

Lawrence W. Tyree is appointed the third SF president. He was SF's president for 11 years, stretching from 1990-2001. The new SF library was named after Tyree in 2002.

Tyree photo

Phase 1 of Charles L. Blount Center

SF Charles L. Blount Center, DA Building Opened May 1990, 401 NW 6th Street, Phase 1

Blount photo

1991

Student Success Reaches 25,000

Student success is seen as a number when the 25,000th student graduates from SF in the spring of 1991.

Former President Clinton Visits

While campaigning for President of the United States, Bill Clinton visits Gainesville with former Vice President Al Gore.

Clinton photo

1993

SF's CIED DB Building Opened

SF Charles L. Blount Center, CIED DB Building Opened July 1993, located at 530 West University Avenue. This was phase 2 of the Blount Center.

CIED photo

1996

SF's Website Goes Online

When Santa Fe Community College launched its website onto the World Wide Web in 1996, it was only the second community college in the nation to have Web presence. The original URL was santafe.cc.fl.us.

first-online photo

1998

Criminal Justice Center Opens

The George G. Kirkpatrick, Jr. "Criminal Justice Training Center" opens as another educational center to house SF's Institute of Public Safety.

Kirkpatrick Center photo

1998

Open Campus Established

In the fall 1998, Santa Fe College began offering 12 online classes through WebCT. Today, SF offers more than 2,600 course sections via the Canvas Learning Management System.

Open Campus photo

2001

"Bat Cave" Opens for Research

The Harvey Sharron "Bat Cave" Field Laboratory in Newberry was opened by SF for classes and field trips. The cave is named for SF’s former director of development and chief fundraiser.

2002

Fourth Santa Fe College President

Jackson N. Sasser is appointed the fourth SF president and is the current president. Before arriving at SF, Dr. Sasser was president of Lee College in Texas and interim president at Calhoun Community College in Alabama.

Dr. Sasser photo

2003

Davis Center Opens its Doors

The Davis Center opens in Archer, Fla., and was named in honor of Ron and Norita Davis and family. The Davis Center offers general education classes for SF.

Davis Center photo

2005

Watson Center Opens its Doors

The Watson Center opens in Keystone Heights, Fla., and was named in honor of Alfred Watson, Sr. and Agnes Watson. The Watson Center offers general education classes for SF.

Watson Center photo

SF's CIED DB Building Opened

SF Charles L. Blount Center, General Classroom and Counseling, DC Building Opened 2005. Phase 3 of the Blount Center is located at 520 NW 5th Avenue.

Blount 2 photo

2006

Dedication of SF's Planetarium

The Kika Silva Pla Planetarium is dedicated. The planetarium was made possible by a generous donation of John Pla and his wife Amy Howard, in recognition of his mother, Kika Silva Pla.

Planetarium photo

Jean Klein Rock Cycle Garden

The Jean Klein Rock Cycle Garden is also dedicated in 2006. This outside exhibit features over 20 boulders from across the United States. The Rock Cycle Garden is named after Jean Klein, former chairman of the Natural Sciences Department at SF.

Rock Cycle Garden photo

2007

Center for Innovation & Economic Development

The Center for Innovation & Economic Development, (CIED), opens for those who need specialized training to reach career goals, represent a business needing cutting-edge training, or are an entrepreneur seeking business support. The facility in the Gainesville technology corridor is home to the Entrepreneur Incubator, SF Continuing Education, and SF Community Education.

2008

Named Changed to Santa Fe College

Santa Fe College became the new name in 2008 when the college began offering bachelor's degrees. Currently, the college has seven 4-year degrees. The college's acronym also changed from SFCC to SF, similar to neighboring university UF.

SF sign photo

SF Softball Wins State Championship

The SF Saints women's softball team won the FCCAA State Championship, and was the NJCAA National Runner-up.

Softball photo

College Voted Best Community College

In 2008, Florida Monthly magazine announced its 13th annual Best of Florida Awards, and SF won in the category of Best Community College and the college's Spring Arts Festival took the award for Best Arts & Crafts Festival.

2009

Perry Center for Emerging Technologies

A state-of-the-art facility opened as another SF center called the Perry Center for Emerging Technologies. It is named in honor of Nancy V. and Charles R. Perry.

Perry Center photo

SF Baseball Wins State Championship

The SF baseball team won the FCCAA State Championship. They were also NJCAA National Runner-ups.

Baseball photo

Construction Institute Opens

The Charles R. Perry Building Construction Institute opens at SF's Northwest Campus. The Institute allows for an on-site residential home building program for SF's construction offerings.

Construction building photo

2011

Fine Arts Hall Grand Opening

A 39,599-square-foot, 606-seat Fine Arts Hall held its grand opening. The state-of-the-art facility includes a fully-equipped theater, dance studio, orchestra pit, costume design studio, scene shop, dressing rooms and classrooms to support Fine Arts education and productions at SF.

Fine Arts photo

2012

SF Named Top 10 in the Nation

Santa Fe College was named one of the top 10 community colleges in the nation by the Aspen Institute. SF was selected from more than 1,200 community colleges nationwide.

Top 10 photo

2013

Largest Rock Collection in North Fla.

SF receives one of the largest rock and mineral collections in North Florida in 2013 and unveiled a brand new exhibit of almost 1,500 individual specimens in 25 glass displays. There is even a dinosaur egg!

Rocks photo

Gator Engineering @ Santa Fe Begins

A collaboration between UF and SF known as Gator Engineering @ Santa Fe was started. It’s tailored toward students who want to enter the college of engineering, but might not meet the requirements for admission into UF.

2014

Professor Receives National Recognition

SF biology professor Matthew Carrigan received national recognition by leading a team of researchers who studied our primate ancestors to determine when humans gained the ability to metabolize ethanol. His study was called “Hominids Adapted to Metabolize Ethanol Long Before Human-directed Fermentation.”

Carrigan photo

Student Named to All-USA Academic Team

SF student Christian Keen was named to Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society's All-USA Community College Academic Team. He, along with just 19 others, was selected out of about 12.8 million, two-year college students in the nation.

2015

College Tower is Constructed

Officially known as "The Santa Fe College Tower," this new college landmark at Northwest Campus started construction in 2014 and was completed in the spring of 2015.

Santa Fe Tower photo

Number One College in the Nation

Santa Fe College was named the winner of the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence by the prestigious Aspen Institute. SF was named number one over 1,000 institutions nationwide and has been in the top 10 of U.S. community colleges since 2012.

SF Begins 50th Anniversary Celebration

During fall 2015 convocation, President Jackson Sasser officially announced the beginning of a 50th anniversary celebration. The video below was shown at convocation that displayed 50 years of college excellence.

Fifty Years to First - Celebrating 50 Years