Our Centennial Celebration

A Century of Service – to Students, the Community, and California

Taft College celebrated its 100th anniversary of service to students, the community of Taft, and the state of California throughout 2022.

Historically, the idea of a “junior college” in the area dates to the early 1900s. While high schools across the country had begun to offer some post-secondary courses, California was the first state to enact legislation that permitted local high schools to offer college-level education courses that would be readily accepted at state universities and colleges. Legislation was passed in Sacramento 1907; however, it was until 1910 that California’s first junior college opened – in Fresno.

A dozen years later, the trustees of the Taft Union High School District voted to establish Taft Junior College – the 16th such school in the state. For the most part, local high school graduates had to travel south to Los Angeles, or northwest to the San Francisco Bay area to receive a college education – an option available to few. The creation of junior colleges offered residents throughout the state the opportunity to start their collegiate journey closer to home.

For many years, Taft Junior College held classes on the high school campus. It shared facilities and instructors with Taft Union High School. However, over time, Taft Junior College developed its own facilities and hired educators dedicated to it. In 1927, there were 16 faculty members shared with the high school with an enrollment of 56. Dorms were added for the first time in 1935.

The school title officially became Taft College on July 1, 1954. In September of 1956, a separate campus opened on Emmons Park Drive, which is now known as Cougar Court. The West Kern Community College District was later formed as a single-college-district under the guidance of a five-member Board of Trustees. Since then, there has been continuous development resulting in a beautiful campus encompassing more than 39 acres in Taft, with a service area of 767 square miles. Taft College offers a robust academic program for its students and is one of the finest small colleges in the nation. For additional information, visit our Academic Excellence and Accreditation pages, check out the Taft College Centennial links below.

Taft College Centennial Events

Taft College celebrated 100 years of academic excellence and service to the region during 2022. 

A variety of events took place during the year, including:

  • 2021 Taft Oildorado Parade—First Place Walking Group 
  • 2021 Taft District Chamber Christmas Parade—Second Place Walking Group
  • 2022 Centennial Community Breakfast Kickoff
  • 2022 Centennial Celebration VIP Reception 
  • 2022 Centennial Celebration Student Athlete Breakfast
  • 2022 Centennial Celebration Gala
  • 2022 Centennial Commencement Ceremony
  • 2022 Centennial Birthday Party and Burger Bash
  • 2022 Centennial Cougar Cookout
  • 2022 Centennial Hall of Fame Awards
  • 2022 Centennial History Coffee Table Book (view online, below)
  • 2022 Taft District Chamber Christmas Parade—First Place Walking Group
  • 2022-23 Centennial Time Capsule
  • 2022-23 Centennial ASO Community Service Project with United Way

Centennial History Coffee Table Book

View the Taft College Centennial History Coffee Table Book online.