Western Nevada College Celebrates 40 Years
2011 brings a significant birthday to Western Nevada College – the Big 4-0. With it comes the chance to embrace the past and look forward. Perhaps because WNC has served thousands of Nevadans for decades, some may take our community college for granted. They may not realize that our three campuses and five education centers have been successful because of the vision and collaborative effort of many throughout the Silver State.
In 1971, the dreams of local educators, civic leaders and students became a reality. Western Nevada Community College opened to serve adults and traditional age students throughout the northwestern part of the state.
The college began its charge without dedicated buildings. Instead, space was rented for classes in communities as far and wide as Reno, Carson City, Hawthorne, Yerington, Fallon, Incline Village and Zephyr Cove.
There were 705 students that first semester, but the numbers quickly grew to 2,106 in 1972 and close to 6,000 per semester today. The Bristlecone Building (WNC’s first owned facility) opened on the new Carson City campus in 1974.
Over the years, university transfer courses have become as important as career preparation programs at WNC. However, the first graduating class in 1972 showed the focus on careers. Of 30 graduates, 16 students earned nursing degrees and the 14 others studied business technology or radiologic technology.
Today Western offers a bachelor’s degree in construction management and a wide spectrum of opportunities: more than 40 academic degrees and certificates to choose from.