Happy Anniversary ACC! Celebrating 40 Years of Connecting People to Careers

About 2,500 students, alumni, employees, and friends of Austin Community College gathered at ACC Highland September 17 to commemorate the college’s 40th anniversary.

“It’s a Family Affair: Celebrating 40 Years of ACC” included cake, music, and even a little dancing, but the focus of the celebration was on the thousands who have come to ACC to advance their education or career, and the many faculty, staff, and college leaders who have helped them reach their goals.

Students sign in to the Career and Resource Fair.

“This is a wonderful day for ACC,” said ACC President/CEO Dr. Richard Rhodes. “We’re here because of the students — to allow them to achieve their dreams. That commitment to serve students runs deep.”

In addition to sharing memories, event participants had a chance to connect with area employers and learn what ACC has to offer through a Career and Resource Fair and Program Showcase. Representatives from more than 200 employers and community agencies and 75 ACC programs and organizations were on hand to offer information and advice. Participants also could choose from more than 20 workshops on topics such as resume writing, starting a business, and networking through social media.

Following the workshops and exhibits, past and present ACC leaders spoke about the college’s growth from one campus with 1,700 students, to nine campuses serving 55,000 credit and Continuing Education students.

“When we talk about success, we can use many standards,” said Dr. Ramon Dovalina, ACC’s first Admissions & Records officer and former president of Laredo Community College. “I’d like to measure success by the success of the people who this institution has touched.”

The ACC Jazz Choir performs for event attendees.

Paul Duffy, a member of ACC’s first graduating class and recently retired staff member, said those who were at the college in the early days could not have imagined what it would become, yet they knew they were part of something special.

“Most of us felt at the time a spirit that something momentous in terms of higher education was happening at ACC,” he said, adding that the college nurtures a capacity to contribute that will carry on through ACC’s new Alumni Network.

While the event included several disco-infused references to the past, many spoke of ACC’s future potential.

“We’re just seeing the beginning,” said former Austin Mayor Gus Garcia, who also was a member ACC’s first Board of Trustees. “ACC has been a great thing for Austin, and we’re just seeing the beginning of the benefits.”

Concluded Dr. Barbara Mink, ACC trustee and founding faculty member, “Start here, get there. Actually at ACC you can get anywhere.”

See ACC’s History Unfold

View the new History Timeline to see 40 years of ACC milestones in photos and videos.

See photos from the 40th anniversary event below.

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