50 Years of Building Brighter Futures
ACC opened its doors on September 17, 1973, with an extraordinary vision to provide everyone access to an affordable, quality education.
Today, we honor our past, celebrate our future, and highlight our work of building brighter futures since 1973. We invite you to join the celebration by sharing your journey. Let us know how ACC helped shape your life.
College education since 1973
Over the last 50 years, ACC has shaped futures through learning. In our endless pursuit to be among the best colleges in the nation, we embraced a model of innovation and collaboration. We invite you to scroll through the videos here to meet the people and explore the programs and facilities that helped ACC transform the landscape of higher education.
Austin Community College District will honor its 50th anniversary with a series of exciting events and celebrations in 2023. This is a community affair, and we want to hear your ideas! Our anniversary provides a unique opportunity to honor ACC’s past and celebrate our mission to provide access to the American Dream and upward mobility to all who seek it. If you have an event or celebration in mind, let us know!
On Saturday, December 9, 1972, Austin voters said “Yes” to a new community college. Whether Austin needed or could afford a community college had been debated for years. Within nine short months, ACC hired faculty and staff, leased the former Anderson High School building and renamed it Ridgeview, and opened its doors on September 17, 1973 to 1,726 students. What started as an extraordinary vision is today the primary gateway to higher education and career training serving about 70,000 students each year.
In celebration of the college’s founding in December 1972, ACC is reconnecting with our founders — Trustees, administrators, faculty, staff, and students who were here in the beginning. We’d like to thank you and add you to a special list of alumni.
Dr. Leonardo de la Garza
Chancellor Emeritus, Tarrant County College District
Dr. de la Garza served as a community college educator for more than 39 years. He wrote the state appropriation funding plan for the creation of ACC when he served on the staff of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. He served as the college’s Dean of Instruction and as the first Vice President for Instruction and Student Services under inaugural President Dr. Tom Hatfield. After ten years of service at ACC, Dr. de la Garza went on to become Executive Vice President at Coastal Bend College, President of El Paso Community College, President of Santa Fe Community College, and Chancellor of Tarrant County College.
He was recognized by the American Association of Community Colleges in 2021 and 2023, respectively, with the Lifetime Leadership Award and by induction into the AACC Hall of Fame. He lives close to his family in Sugar Land, and enjoys tending to the ranch in South Texas.
Dr. Barbara Mink
Photocopy of a portrait of Dr. Barbara Mink taken in 1973 and published in Austin American-Statesman along with a story announcing Mink’s (then known as Dr. Washburn’s) appointment as the new Associate Dean for Instructional Services for Austin Community College. The printed photograph belongs to Dr. Mink, one of the founding members of ACC.
William "Bill" Montgomery
Bill Montgomery is an Austin Community College District founding member and professor of History. He was named Emeritus in 2001 and a Fulbright Professor in 1989-90. He was awarded the 1998-99 Teaching Excellence Award, the Choice’s Outstanding Academic Book Award for Under Their Own Vine and Fig Tree: The African-American Church in the South, 1865-1900, and the Lecturing award to the National University of Lesotho, in Southern Africa.
Roland C. Hayes is a founding faculty member of Austin Community College. He continues to serve as Director of the college’s African-American Cultural Center and as a history professor.
Maxine Montgomery is a self-described “founding mother” of Austin Community College. She joined the full-time English faculty at the College’s inception in 1973. Maxine holds a B.A. in History/English, an M.A. in English, and a Ph.D. in English Education, all from the University of Texas at Austin. Maxine’s husband, Bill Montgomery, also is one of ACC’s original history faculty members.
1973 Group Portrait
This group portrait was taken in 1973 and shows Linda Smith, Librarian, Barbara Wilkerson, Media, and Janice Templeton, Testing Center. All three were among Austin Community College’s first employees. The printed photograph belongs to Dr. Barbara Mink, one of the founding members of ACC.
ACC Story Project
There’s one-degree of separation from Austin Community College. If you didn’t go to ACC, you know someone who did. The ACC Story Project is an effort to collect unscripted stories from the hearts of those who have been impacted by the ACC mission— our students, faculty and staff, founders, partners, and alumni. Become a part of history. By sharing your ACC story.
Upload your story to your socials! Join the conversation on social media — @ACC
From scavenger hunts and volunteer opportunities to Founders Day and 50 year reunion, updates and additional information will be added here. All ACC departments and organizations are encouraged to plan your own events or suggest collegewide celebrations.
|August 28||St. John Encampment Commons/UFCU Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony|
|September 17 – 23||Riverbat Homecoming Week|
|September 18||ACC Board of Trustees Reception for Dr. Richard Rhodes|
|September 21||ACC Founders Luncheon|
|September 23||50 Years Later: A Riverbat Homecoming|
|September 29||ACC General Assembly|
|December 7||Fall Commencement|
|December 15||Faculty & Staff Holiday Party (current and former employees)|