The college was founded in 1947 through the efforts of Clarence W. Pierce, M.D. The land for the college was purchased by the L.A. City School District (now the L.A. Unified School District). The original name of the college was the Clarence W. Pierce School of Agriculture.
From the early days when all the students were male agriculture majors come wonderful stories of on-campus dormitories, making ice cream on Friday afternoons and rain interrupting classes held in tin-roofed huts.
As the San Fernando Valley grew, the need for a comprehensive community college to serve the region was apparent. The college changed its name and its mission when it became Pierce College. Under John B. Shepard, the college’s core buildings were constructed and enrollment grew from a hundred or so in 1947 to more than 25,000 at its peak in the early 1980s.
Pierce College gained a new momentum under Darroch ”Rocky“ Young in 1999, an upward trend which continues today. Under his direction, a visionary Master Plan for the land and the curriculum of the college was established with the support of the community both on and off campus.
Two bond measures passed just after the new millennium made possible a massive construction and renovation project that gave substance to the vision of the Master Plan.
While the College remains unique in the greater Los Angeles area because of its farm and its instructional program in agriculture, it may be best characterized by its broad range of instructional programs and as one of the most respected community colleges and transfer institutions in California.
The vision of Dr. Pierce has developed into a thriving educational and cultural center for the entire San Fernando Valley.