Orange Coast College

Orange Coast College (OCC)
Latin: Gutiérrez
Motto We'll help you get there.
Type Public, Community College
Established 1947
Endowment $10 million[1]
President Dr. Dennis Harkins
Students 25,000 (Fall 2016)[2]
Address 2701 Fairview Rd., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, Costa Mesa, California, United States
Coordinates: 33°40′14″N 117°54′43″W / 33.67056°N 117.91194°W / 33.67056; -117.91194
Campus Suburban, 164 acres
Colors Blue and Orange
Nickname Pirates
Mascot Pete the Pirate
Affiliations Coast Community College District
OCC's lawn surrounding the Art Building
Orange Coast College Sailing Base

Orange Coast College (OCC) is a community college in Orange County, California, United States. It was founded in 1947, with its first classes opening in the fall of 1948. It provides two-year associate of art and science degrees, certificates of achievement, and lower-division classes transferable to other colleges and universities. The school enrolls approximately 24,000 undergraduate students. In terms of population size, Orange Coast College is the third largest college in Orange County. It is located in Costa Mesa, California, about 40 miles (64 km) south of Los Angeles.


Orange Coast College was formed after local voters passed a measure in the January 1947 election to establish a new junior college on a 243-acre (0.98 km2) site, secured from the War Assets Administration in Washington, D.C, carved from the 1,300-acre (5.3 km2) deactivated Santa Ana Army Air Base.[3]

The first official District board of trustees hired the college's founding president and district superintendent, Basil Hyrum Peterson, on July 28, 1947. Construction of campus classrooms and facilities began when Dr. Peterson hired Fran Albers as the college's carpenter in February 1948. Albers' crew of 35 workers (mostly Coast football players paid 60 cents an hour) turned an Army movie theatre into an auditorium and concert hall; a service club into a 500-seat gymnasium; an Army chapel into a facility for theatre productions and student/staff weddings; a military storage building into a library; an Army PX into a student center; a battalion headquarters building into an administration building; and several cadet barracks into student dormitories and married student and faculty housing.[4]

The first campus building phase occurred in the early 1950s, when renowned architect Richard Neutra was brought in to re-design the campus. Leaving many of the original buildings intact, Neutra added several modernist structures including the strikingly minimalist Campus Theater and two large lecture halls. These were laid out on a 45-degree angle to the city street grid, in much the same manner as The Parkinsons' layout of USC. The second and largest building phase occurred in the 1970s, when local architect William Blurock was hired to replace many of the original Army buildings with structures more suitable for educational purposes.

In 2015, a plan is in effect to remove the early Neutra buildings in the center of the campus and open up a large central park around which both the outlying 1970s buildings and several newer buildings will be clustered.[5]

Organization and admissions

OCC Crew Base

The college is one of three in the Coast Community College District, a regional organization providing administrative services and funding for post-secondary education. The district is chartered by the state of California to provide community college services.

The mission of OCC is to provide inexpensive education in the trades, licensed trades and skilled professions, as well as remedial and transferable lower-division courses for students who plan to transfer to either a California State University or University of California campus.

Orange Coast College is one of the top transfer institutions in the country. OCC ranks third across California for combined UC and CSU transfers. The college ranks 65th out of more than 5,000 community colleges in the United States in awarding associate degrees.[6]

For California residents, costs are $46 (recently raised from $20, mandated by the state) per unit.[7] For non-residents, costs are about $150 per unit. A typical two-year program has 60 units. All students who are over 18 years of age and can benefit from the services at OCC, qualify for admission.

Students who are under 18 years of age must show any one of the following,

Academic profile

In December 2002, Rabbit Island,[8][9] a 38-acre (150,000 m2) island located in the North Gulf Islands of the Georgia Strait 50 miles (80 km) west of the city of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada, was donated to the Orange Coast College Foundation. Since then the OCC Foundation, using funds designated for the Orange Coast College School of Sailing & Seamanship, has refurbished the facilities on the island, made significant capital improvements, and has helped fund the use of the island as a field station to teach summer classes in Island Ecology, Biological Diversity, Vertebrate Biology, Intertidal Ecology, kayaking, and photography. It is now referred to as "Wheeler Station" at Rabbit Island (in honor of the donor, Henry Wheeler). OCC marine science and biology instructors have used the island to conduct research on species diversity, standing stock, species distribution, and oceanography. Plans were underway to find separate funding for the island outside of OCC. Possible funding sources included the National Science Foundation, rental of the island facilities to Canadians, funding from the Associated Students of OCC (ASOCC), and through other foundation grants and private donations. In March 2007, the Orange Coast College Foundation Board of Directors voted to sell the island after determining that keeping and maintaining it was unfeasible. As of July 2007, the island was in talks to be sold to a private party for 2.41 million dollars.[10] However, the sale did not materialize and the island was sold in March 2008 to a privately held Canadian corporation for 2.19 million dollars.[11]

OCC is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. It also has specialized accreditation by American Dental Association (Commission on Dental Accreditation), the American Dietetic Association (Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education), and the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology.[12]

Student life

OCC has active clubs, competitive sport teams, and an involved Associated Student Body. However, the campus community is less social than a four-year institution because it is primarily a commuter college serving local people.

On-campus housing is not available, and local housing is expensive, approximately $1100 per month for a small single-bedroom apartment. Local rooms in houses rent for about $750 per month. The minimum wage of $9.00 per hour is about half of the income required to live in Costa Mesa.

Many changes have been going on at Orange Coast College. A new library was opened in January 2008, the Lewis Science Building was remodeled, and a Starbucks was built by the new Art Center. It is the only community college in Orange County that has its own Starbucks.

Construction on a new Math, Business and Computing Center is slated to be complete in the fall of 2015. Constructions projects scheduled to break ground in the near future include a 120-seat Planetarium, and an expanded Recycling Center. The recently remodeled student resource center, Watson Hall, contains:

  1. Counseling Center
  2. Records and Admissions
  3. Transfer Center
  4. Career Center
  5. Career Library
  6. International Center
  7. Academic Honors Office
  8. Re-Entry Center
  9. Financial Aid
  10. Veterans' Services
  11. Assessment Center
  12. Puente Program

Coast Report

The Coast Report has been OCC's campus newspaper since 1948. The Coast Report currently distributes 5000 copies of their paper throughout the campus every week on Wednesdays. The Coast Report also maintains the Coast Report Online, which is an online version of the paper. The faculty adviser for the paper is Cathy Werblin.

Student body

Ethnic composition of student body[13]
Undergraduate U.S. Census[14]
Caucasian 43% 73.9%
Black 2% 12.1%
Asian 22% 4.3%
Hispanic 21% 14.5%
Native American 1% 0.9%

OCC has a total enrollment of 24,783 students, of which 16,384 are degree seeking undergraduates.[15] 97% of incoming students are drawn from California, and 3% are from out of state.[16] 35% of students are part-time. As of fall 2007, the proportion of students with a B.A. or higher is 10%.[17]

Noted people


  1. As of June 30, 2009. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved February 2, 2010.
  3. Carnett, Jim. "Orange Coast College Secures Its Campus 60 Years Ago This Month". Retrieved 2009-01-04.
  4. Carnett, Jim. "OCC Names Two Campus Buildings In Honor Of Charter Staff Members". Retrieved 2009-01-04.
  5. Hodgins, Paul (July 12, 2015). "Design 'gems' on a cramped campus". The Orange County Register. pp. News 1, 7. Retrieved 2015-07-16.
  6. Carnett, Jim. "OCC students shine in their endeavors". Daily Pilot. Retrieved 2008-04-09.
  8. Powers, Ashley (February 18, 2007). "Island-owning college may decide to sell". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-04-10.
  9. Rabbit Island
  10. Ryan, Carmela (September 12, 2007). "Island Sale Nearly Done". The Coast Report. Retrieved 2008-04-10.
  11. Hosboyar, Lisa (March 5, 2008). "Rabbit Island is Sold". The Coast Report. Retrieved 2008-04-10.
  12. Institute of Education Sciences, US Department of Education web site
  13. "Occ at a glance". College Board. Retrieved 2009-06-014. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  14. "B02001. RACE - Universe: TOTAL POPULATION". 2006 American Community Survey. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-30.
  15. "Orange Coast College at a glance". Collegeboard. Retrieved 2009-06-18.
  16. "OCC at a glance". College Board. Retrieved 2009-06-18.
  17. "Orange Coast College Atlas" (PDF). Orange Coast College. Retrieved 2011-10-28.
  18. "Tiki Ghosn UFC Bio". Retrieved 2014. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  20. "Men's Volleyball Athlete Profile - Casey Jennings". Brigham Young University. Retrieved January 15, 2010.
  23. "Francisco Rivera OCC Alumni". Retrieved 2014. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  24. "Francisco Rivera UFC Profile". Retrieved 2014. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
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