About Broward College

Created by the Florida Legislature in 1959, Broward College has the second-largest enrollment within the Florida College System (FCS). Broward College serves 56,000 students with the support of 4,000 full-time and part-time faculty and staff. Broward College fulfills its mission each day, "Transforming students' lives and enriching our diverse community through academic excellence, innovation, and meaningful career opportunities," by offering first-time college students, adult learners, and career professionals academic programs across eight career-related pathways. Programs include specialized certificates, and two and four-year degrees. The College also offers non-degree training, workforce readiness, and an extensive list of continuing education curricula.

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History of Broward College

Broward College Central Campus location in 1950s

1950s - The Vision

In 1957, Florida embarked on a program to create a network of two-year colleges at which Floridians could complete undergraduate education or pursue two-year technical programs leading to the workforce. When the state released its plan, Broward County was not among the highest-priority communities selected for the first wave of construction; however, by 1959, Broward County was placed at the top of the priority list and work on the Junior College of Broward County was underway.

1960s - The Grand Opening

Just 17 days after founding President Joe B. Rushing accepted his position, he was assembling staff. On September 6, 1960, the Junior College of Broward County opened its doors to its first class - 701 students. Classes were held at the former Naval Air Station Junior High on the western edge of what is now the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. A faculty of 28 and staff of 19 welcomed students on opening day. The Central Campus that we know today opened its doors to students in August of 1963.

1970s - An Evolving Campus

In the 1970s Broward College offered its first television-based classes and reached an enrollment of 12,000 students. Broward College received their very first gift from Ralph R. Bailey. Bailey Hall was named in honor of Mr. Bailey, a Hallandale engineer and real estate investor. The hall opened with a dedication gala in 1979; Governor Bob Graham was the guest of honor for the ceremony. There were two campuses and two centers that opened to students in this decade. North Campus opened its doors February 27, 1972 and the Willis Holcombe Center opened October 1, 1973. South Campus offered their first classes in August 1977 in a satellite center; the campus we know today opened its doors January 17, 1978. The Tigertail Lake Recreational Center first started in 1974 and was operated from a car until the building was complete.

1980s - Building Community Partnerships

John Payne Hall, Handleman Hall, Ferris Center, Joe B. Rushing Hall and the Meyer Hall were all named and dedicated for Broward College's 20th Anniversary in 1980. Broward College offered weekend classes to students for the first time and combined sports from all campuses to one mutual team. Dr. Adams retired and was replaced by Dr. Willis Holcombe who involved the college in international education and built partnerships between the college and community organizations.

1990s - Creating Milestones

In 1995 Broward College received their first donation from Edward Seese. The Seese donation was given to Broward College to be given as scholarships to students known as the "C Scholarships". The first Broward College website debuted in 1997. In 1998 the college held its first outdoor graduation ceremony on the Central Campus Library lawn. In 1999 another milestone for Broward College was reached, the first online computer registration for students was available.

2000s - The New Broward College

The first few years of the college's previous president, J. David Armstrong, Jr., saw the transformation of Broward Community College to Broward College with the addition of baccalaureate programs to meet specific, targeted needs of the community. Broward's first class of baccalaureate students began attending classes in January 2009 on the Judson A. Samuels South Campus. This first baccalaureate class graduated in December 2010. Three of Broward College's centers were opened in this decade, the Pines Center on August 24, 2000, the Weston Center on February 16, 2006 and the Miramar Town Center on August 18, 2008.

Today - Pursuit of Excellence

As Broward College forges into its second half-century of service to Broward County, it does so as one of the nation's largest institutions of its type, with a reputation for the pursuit of excellence and service to the diverse communities it serves. Broward College now serves more than 68,000 students annually and employs a faculty and staff of more than 2,000. Two centers have been opened since 2012, the Coral Springs Academic Center on October 22, 2012, and the Miramar West Center on February 25, 2014.

A special thanks to the Broward College Archives & Special Collections department for their contribution to the historical photographs.