By Philip Falcone |
Riverside City College is the oldest of all the institutions of higher education in Riverside. Dating back to 1916, this college has occupied the same location on Magnolia Avenue since its starting days. First sharing a location with Riverside Polytechnic High School, the then-Riverside Junior College was a logical next step for students graduating from Poly High. The two schools shared the site and often had an intermingling of students as high schoolers and college attendees came and went from common spaces on campus. For its first 40 years this collaboration of high school and junior college occurred before Poly High moved to the middle of town off Victoria Avenue in 1964. In retrospect, the sharing of the campus was likely a good encouragement for students to attend higher education beyond high school. It would be two more years of a similar routine and likely removed some of the fear of the unknown that comes with starting your college career after high school.
Riverside Junior College was particularly popular with local women who began going to college at record numbers come the first expansion of the college in the 1960s. Here they could obtain an associates degree and work in fields such as education. Today, Riverside City College is known for its nursing program, career technical education, performing arts, and journalism. The proximity of the Riverside City College campus to Riverside Community Hospital across the street allows for an exchange of nursing students and nurses with real-time medical work in the local community, adding incentive for local nursing school graduates to stay and work in Riverside’s medical fields by utilizing the vital connections made between Riverside City College and Riverside Community Hospital. The training gained in the college’s Career Technical Education programs feeds directly into the needs of Riverside as one of the fastest growing cities in the nation; the need for skilled workers in construction, electrical, and automotive has never been higher. These programs are ideal for students who are not planning on transferring to a four-year university and still prepares them well for a successful career in fields of high demand.
From its earliest day Riverside City College has been the institution of choice by locals—often hiring back alumni as professors and staff and thus proving the great love for the college that exists in the community.