Welcome to the Journal of Sierra Nevada History & Biography
David Kuchera and Jay Hester, Editors
2011 Special Edition, in celebration of the 75th Anniversary of Sierra College
The History of Sierra College
2011 is a very special year in the history of Sierra College. This year we celebrate a Golden and a Diamond Anniversary (50 and 75 years).
Seventy-five years ago Placer College in Auburn officially opened its doors establishing a tradition of academic and athletic excellence. Fifty years ago the college celebrated the opening of the beautiful Rocklin campus. A few years earlier, the college had changed the institution’s name to Sierra College but the tradition of distinction did not change. Sierra College serves thousands of students and the communities of the larger region by adhering to our mission to “facilitate learning, inspire change and build community.”
This edition of Snowy Range Reflections: A Journal of the History and Biography of the Sierra Nevada is devoted to the celebration of these anniversary years by providing a few examples of the inspiring history, and, especially, people who contributed to the history of the college named for the “Range of Light.”
In this volume you can hear the voice of Harold Weaver, former president of Sierra College, for whom Weaver Hall on the Rocklin campus is named. Weaver tells the history of the inception of the community college system and the subsequent development of Placer College, later Sierra College.
We have included some reminiscences of one of Placer College’s earliest and most beloved instructors, Stephen M. Barooshian. Barooshian, a professor of history, inspired two generations of students, and, in his autobiography My Story, writes of his love of the profession and devotion to his students. Love and devotion returned in ample portion to that inspiring instructor as told in an editorial written by A. Thomas Homer, former editor of the Auburn Journal.
Another long-time professor of history on the Sierra College campus, John McFarland, also writes with eloquence about Sierra College’s history and legacy. In this issue we also remember current geology instructor Dick Hilton’s remarkable discovery of the “King Tusk Gomphothere” Included is the story from the Auburn Journal of how Professor Hilton and his students made history when they uncovered a giant tusk belonging to an ancient mastodon in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada.
Also in this edition of Snowy Range Reflections is the “Magical Seventeen.” For seventeen years the San Francisco 49ers shared the summers with Sierra College employees and a host of fans on the Sierra College campus. Local historian Gary Day recalls these glory years for a storied team.
Finally, this edition recalls the extraordinary story of the most awarded and influential project in Sierra College history – The Standing Guard Project, which chronicled the internment of Placer County Japanese Americans during World War II. Dr. Debra Sutphen, Dean of the Sierra College Liberal Arts Division and a project co-director, recounts the remarkable history and future of Standing Guard. It was from this project that the Sierra College Press was formed. The Press has since grown into the only full-service academic press operated by a community college in the United States. This journal is part of the Sierra College Press family.
This edition only presents a partial picture of the history and legacy of a great institution that is celebrating its Golden and Diamond Anniversaries. So, enjoy, and look forward to more in the next issue of Snowy Range Reflections – for we’ve only just started down the trail.