Celebrating 40 Years of Excellence
Cuyamaca College is located in the San Diego County community of Rancho San Diego
on 165 beautiful acres that at one time was a part of the Old Monte Vista Ranch. Along
with its sister campus, Grossmont College, it is part of the award-winning Grossmont-Cuyamaca
Community College District.
The college’s name, linked to the area’s Native-American roots, comes from the Kumeyaay
phrase “Ekwiiyemak,” which has been translated to mean “behind the clouds,” “above
the rains,” and “the place where the rain comes from the heavens.”
The campus site was acquired by the district’s Board of Trustees in September 1972
and the college officially opened six years later. Today, Cuyamaca College offers
more than 140 degrees and certificates, serves nearly 10,000 students, and is a significant
contributor to the regional workforce and economy.
- April 16, 1977: An official groundbreaking ceremony is held for the new Cuyamaca College campus in
Rancho San Diego.
- July 1, 1977: Wallace F. Cohen, Ed.D., becomes the founding president of Cuyamaca College, which
still has no buildings, no staff, no faculty, and no students. Cohen will spend a
year putting together a small administrative staff and, with their help, select new
faculty and staff for the various departments, prepare curriculum, and hold meetings
with college architects and contractors.
- August, 1978: Cuyamaca College opens with a fall enrollment of 1,947 students.
- May 30, 1979: Cuyamaca College holds its first Commencement with a graduating class of 38 students.
- First commencement location.
- Fall, 1981: Student enrollment reaches 3,098 as Cuyamaca College for the first time enjoys a fully-functioning
Campus Activities Office with nearly a dozen clubs. More than 20 students participate
in the newly formed Student Government.
June 20, 1984:
Samuel M. Ciccati, Ph.D., becomes Cuyamaca College’s second president. He would serve
as president of the rapidly growing campus through July 1, 1993.