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Foothill College

Foothill College
Motto Upgrade. Advance.
Established January 15, 1957
Type Community college
President Dr. Judy Miner
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 13,630[1]
Location Los Altos Hills, California, United States
Campus Suburban, 122 acres (0.49 km2)
Colors red
Nickname Owls
Affiliations De Anza College
Example of Foothill's campus architecture

Foothill College is a community college located in Los Altos Hills, California and is part of the Foothill–De Anza Community College District. It was founded on January 15, 1957 by Founding Superintendent and President Dr. Calvin C. Flint. The college offers 79 Associate degree programs and 107 certificate programs. It is named one of California's "best community colleges."[2]


  • History 1
  • Accreditation 2
  • Organization 3
    • Presidents 3.1
    • Divisions 3.2
    • Administration 3.3
  • Athletics 4
    • Intercollegiate teams 4.1
  • Notable alumni 5
  • Student government 6
  • Noteworthy accomplishments 7
  • Controversies 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


In July 1956, Palo Alto Unified School District Superintendent Henry M. Gunn called a meeting of local school superintendents that led to the creation of Foothill College.[3] Calvin Flint, then President of Monterey Peninsula College was hired as the first District Superintendent and President; he started work on March 1, 1958.[4]

Candidates for the new college's name, besides Foothill, were Peninsula, Junipero Serra, Mid-Peninsula, Earl Warren, Herbert Hoover, North Santa Clara, Altos, Valley, Skyline, Highland, and Intercity.[5] At first the name was Foothill Junior College, but because Flint insisted that his new college would be "not junior to anyone", the Board dropped the "Junior" in September 1958.[4]

Foothill College entrance

Foothill held its first classes in the old Highway School campus on El Camino Real in Mountain View on September 15, 1958.[5] It was accredited by March of the next year and was the first school in the state to ever reach full accreditation in less than six months.[5] The owl mascot originated from a concrete owl that was a decoration on the Highway School's bell tower; it was later moved to the new campus.[6]

Foothill's unique neo-Japanese architecture is well-known among architects;[7] the campus was designed by architect Ernest Kump and landscape architect Hideo Sasaki and Peter Walker.[8] The Foothill College was conceived as a junior college for 3500 full-time students, the 122-acre campus, the first of many junior colleges built after World Wall II in California. Soon after its completion, Foothill was widely recognized as a pioneer, setting high standards for new campus design.[9]

Traditionally, Foothill serves the communities of Los Altos Hills, Los Altos, Mountain View and Palo Alto; together these communities form the northwest corner of Silicon Valley. The college sits next to Interstate 280, at the interchange with El Monte Road.

In 2002, a second campus was opened on the site of the former Cubberley High School at 4000 Middlefield Road in Palo Alto. The Middlefield Campus is leased from the Palo Alto School District, and currently serves approximately 1,000 students.

In 2003, the college began the most dramatic construction project since its founding, to accommodate the fact that a campus designed for 3,500 is now serving nearly 14,000. It is renovating nearly all buildings, tearing up and rebuilding its potholed parking lots, demolishing several unsafe buildings, including the campus center, and constructing several replacement buildings. Two of the new buildings in the lower campus complex feature sod roofs.


Foothill College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community & Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. This organization is recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education. Foothill is also accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation, American Medical Association Council on Medical Education, and Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.



  • Dr. Calvin C. Flint (1957–1973)[10]
  • Dr. Hubert H. Semans (1967–1973)
  • Dr. James S. Fitzgerald (1973–1982)
  • Dr. Thomas H. Clements (1982–1994)
  • Dr. Bernadine Chuck Fong (1994–2006)
  • Dr. Penny Patz (interim President) (2006–2007)
  • Dr. Judy Miner (2007–Present)


  • Biological & Health Sciences
  • Business & Social Sciences (BSS)
  • Counseling & Student Services
  • Fine Arts & Communication
  • Instructional Services & Libraries
  • Language Arts
  • Kinesiology & Athletics
  • Physical Sciences, Mathematics & Engineering (PSME)


The community college district's headquarters are located in one corner of the Foothill campus. The district also administers De Anza College in nearby Cupertino.


Foothill is a member of the Coast Conference of the California Community College Commission on Athletics and NorCal Football Conference. The school mascot is an owl.

Intercollegiate teams

  • Football
  • Men's & Women's Basketball
  • Men's & Women's Soccer
  • Men's & Women's Swimming
  • Men's & Women's Tennis
  • Men's Golf
  • Women's Softball
  • Women's Volleyball
  • Women's Water Polo

Notable alumni

Student government

Foothill's student government is known as the Associated Students of Foothill College (ASFC). Student government provides its student body the opportunity to self-govern and participate with faculty, staff and administration.

Noteworthy accomplishments

  • Completed a $120-million campus enhancement and facilities expansion funded by the community through the 1999 Measure E Bond Initiative. With the district passage of Measure C in 2006, Foothill College will use $168 million for additional capital projects as well as to ensure the college stays current with technology and equipment.
  • Five Foothill professors have won the Hayward Award of the Academic Senate of the California Community Colleges, given each year to a faculty member who has a "track record of excellence in both teaching and professional activities." Foothill's winners include Jay Manley, Mike McHargue, Elizabeth Barkley, Andrew Fraknoi, and Scott Lankford. In addition, Frank Cascarano is a Fellow of the American Association of Physics Teachers.


The campus serves a very large number of international students who are attempting to acquire associate degrees as the basis for transferring into prestigious American universities; according to a Community College Week survey in 2001, Foothill had the 12th highest population of international students out of all community colleges in the United States.[11] The school was harshly criticized in 2002 by the Wall Street Journal for its aggressive recruitment of such students over California residents, since they are a lucrative revenue source who pay a much higher tuition.[12]

On December 10, 2001, Foothill College abruptly canceled its men's basketball season after completing just six games.[13] Questions arose over how housing and tuition for six foreign players were being paid by Tariq Abdul-Wahad, then with the NBA's Denver Nuggets and alumnus of San Jose State University.


  1. ^ California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office – Data Mart. Retrieved on July 21, 2013.
  2. ^ Top 15 Community Colleges in Caifornia. (April 22, 2015). Retrieved on April 30, 2015.
  3. ^ Roberta Couch, Tom Jamison, Doug Stine, Susan Johnston, Rene Lynch, and Judy Sisk, Foothill College: 25 Years (Los Altos Hills: Foothill College, 1981), 10.
  4. ^ a b Couch, 10.
  5. ^ a b c Couch, 11.
  6. ^ Couch, 130.
  7. ^ Downey, Kirstin. "A Discerning Look At The Valley: Architects Assess Our Area's Aesthetics." San Jose Mercury News, May 29, 1986, sec. E, p. 1.
  8. ^ Raver, Anne. "Hideo Sasaki, 80, Influential Landscape Architect, Dies." New York Times, September 25, 2000, sec. Arts, p. 9.
  9. ^ Peter Walker: landscape as art. No. 85. Process Architecture, 1989.
  10. ^ Los Altos Town Crier – Home. Retrieved on July 21, 2013.
  11. ^ Lane, Kristin. "World-Class Export." Community College Week, August 20, 2001, 6.
  12. ^ Bartindale, Becky. "Foothill Denies Report Of Inaccuracy: College Accused Of Exaggerating Transfer Stats." San Jose Mercury News, April 3, 2002, sec. B, p. 6.
  13. ^ Recruiting violations kill Foothill men's hoops – SFGate. (December 11, 2001). Retrieved on July 21, 2013.

External links

  • Foothill College official website
  • Foothill–De Anza Community College District website
  • Hayward Award
  • ASFC Student Government
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