College of the Canyons

College of the Canyons
Motto Start here. Go anywhere.
Type Public, Community College
Established 1969
President Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook
Students 17,929 (Spring 2012)[1]
Address 26455 Rockwell Canyon Road
Santa Clarita, CA 91355
, Santa Clarita, CA, USA
34°24′16″N 118°34′05″W / 34.40444°N 118.56806°W / 34.40444; -118.56806Coordinates: 34°24′16″N 118°34′05″W / 34.40444°N 118.56806°W / 34.40444; -118.56806
Campus Suburban—153.4 acres (62.1 ha)
Colors Blue and Gold
Nickname Cougars
Affiliations Santa Clarita Community College District;
Western State Conference; Phi Rho Pi National Speech & Debate Honor Society

College of the Canyons, commonly referred to as COC, is a public two-year community college that operates within the Santa Clarita Community College District.


Local voters approved the formation of the college in 1967. It officially opened in 1969, operating in temporary quarters on the campus of William S. Hart High School in Newhall. In 1970, the college purchased a permanent campus site along the east side of Interstate 5, south of Valencia Boulevard and north of McBean Parkway. The college relocated to a collection of modular buildings on the site in 1970 as permanent facilities were being built. Over the years, educational facilities have been built to ensure that they blend with the natural attributes of the location, creating a relaxed and comfortable physical environment.


The college is located on 153.4 acres (62.1 ha) of rolling, tree-dotted hills in the incorporated city of Santa Clarita in northern Los Angeles County, California.

Recent additions to the campus include a 926-seat performing arts center, built in partnership with the city of Santa Clarita, that offers academic, community and professional productions. The facility, which also holds a smaller experimental theater, opened in late 2004. A new Music/Dance Building opened adjacent to the performing arts center in 2005. As of early 2006, construction was under way on a new High-Tech Classroom Building (34,000 square feet) and a major expansion of the Laboratory Building.

In 2007 the college opened its Canyon Country campus on a 70-acre (28 ha) site located at 17200 Sierra Hwy., Santa Clarita, CA 91351. The campus had an enrollment of 3,845 in fall 2009. Its first permanent building, the Applied Technology Education Center, was scheduled to open in 2011 to provide education and training in a variety of high-demand "green" technology fields. The campus is composed primarily of modular buildings that are situated to best accommodate planned permanent buildings as they are built in the years to come. The campus has an outdoor venue, the Carl A. Rasmussen Amphitheater, that has hosted a variety of campus and community events such as the popular Star Party.

Organization and administration

Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook is president of the college and chancellor of the Santa Clarita Community College District. She has headed the college and district since 1988.

Academic profile

With 191 full-time faculty members (as of fall 2009), the college offers Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees in 69 academic programs, as well as credentials in 82 certificate programs. Programs include Audio/Radio Production, Biotechnology, Child Development, Dance, Film/Video Production, Fire Control Technology, Industrial Manufacturing, Music, Nursing, Paralegal Studies, Television Production, Theatre Arts and Video Game Animation. Recent additions to the curricula include programs in insurance, web development, ESL, hotel-restaurant entrepreneurship, human services-gerontology and medical laboratory technician.

The college also is a participant in several innovative partnerships that have redefined the traditional role of community colleges. Academy of the Canyons, a middle college high school operated by the William S. Hart Union High School District, opened on the College of the Canyons campus in 2002. The concept allows promising high school students to attend high school and college concurrently. The college also oversees the University Center, a collection of public and private universities that offer advanced degree programs on the college’s campus, eliminating the need for residents to commute long distances to earn their degrees. Also operating at the college are the Center for Applied Competitive Technologies and the Employee Training Institute, both of which have helped local businesses become more efficient and train employees in the latest emerging fields. The Small Business Development Center and the i3 Advanced Technology Center, hosted by the college, leverages college resources and provides addition support and seminars to assist entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Student life

Since 1994, the COC Speech Team has been recognized nationally at six consecutive Phi Rho Pi National Tournaments for all three major areas of speech competition. Headed by Professor Michael Leach, the team has advanced in its success over the years. Most recently, the team left the 2013 Phi Rho Pi National Tournament with 5 medals including, one gold, one silver and 3 bronze medals.

As of 2011, the College of the Canyons department of Communication Studies has created their first ever club on campus. It was created by a handful of students who were passionate about this field of study, and wanted to bring awareness to the growing major. The Club is advised by the department chair for Communication Studies, Victoria Leonard, who is just as passionate, if not more, as the students involved. The club's goal is to be an academic and social club that focuses on special communication activities and events. Among these events, academic events include guest speakers, special topics within the communications field, and assisting with other campus events or helping the Speech Team. Socially, the club offers movie nights, game nights, fundraisers, and a specific event called "Party with you Prof," which is only offered to those in the club. In addition, the group has volunteered in "A Night to Remember" since 2013, an all-expense paid prom for special needs students between the ages of 12-25 at Mission Church in Ventura, California. The club has recently started an honors society called Sigma Chi Eta. This honors society is available to those who are in the club and meet the academic requirements. This club gives students an opportunity to gain leadership opportunities, as well as earn academic achievements, and foster relationships with students and professors within the field of communications.


The college athletics teams are nicknamed the Cougars. The college competes in the Western State Conference in twelve sports: football, soccer (men's and women's) women's volleyball, cross country running, golf (men's and women's), softball, baseball, swimming, track and field and men's and women's basketball. The men's golf team has won seven state championships 1991 and 6 since 2000 (2000, 2002, 2006,2008,2013 and in 2015) women's golf won the state championship in fall of 2001 and again in 2007. This is the second time that the Women's and Men's team have won back to back state championships in the same academic year (Fall 2001, Spring 2002 and Fall 2007, Spring 2008) The men's football team won the national championship in 2004. The men's ice hockey club won the ACHA Division III National Title in 2011.

Filming location

Notable alumni


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