History & Tradition

An Open Door

TCC was founded on the brave notion that everyone who wants to experience higher education should have access to college. Today, that idea has become reality for the many students TCC has served since its opening to the public in Sept. 1965 -- half a million and counting.

Pierce County’s first community college was a long-held dream for many in the community, who longed for an affordable, local option for higher education. From the beginning, the school existed to provide an “open door” for any student wanting to learn.

TCC's first cohort of 1,084 students represented the diversity of the Puget Sound with men and women, ethnic minorities and students of varied ages. Within three short years, TCC had grown into a thriving, fully accredited community college.

In the ensuing five decades, this institution has responded to the needs of its community, tailoring its programs to meet the needs of local employers and provide opportunity for local people. The school continues to provide a first-rate education – at a third of the cost of public, four-year universities—and a welcoming, supportive environment for all those ready to learn.

We seek excellence through inclusion—through helping people progress from wherever they are—rather than by exclusion, accepting only those who have the highest likelihood of success.”

Pamela Transue, TCC President Emeritus


The First 50 Years

Read about TCC's first 50 years in The Open Door (PDF)

(.mobi ebook format) (.epub ebook format)

Learn more about the founding and impact of TCC.

Milestone Moments

Key dates in TCC's rich history.