buildings from past Clark College campuses

1933-34:  The founding of Vancouver Junior College

Saturday, August 19, 1933
Announcement of the founding of Vancouver Junior College (An article appeared on the front page of the Vancouver Evening Columbian. Because it was an evening paper, it covered many same-day events and this article refers to the announcement being made “today.”)

Thursday, September 7, 1933
Vancouver Junior College runs its first-ever registration ad in The Vancouver Evening Columbian, announcing that registration will begin on September 28 with fall term beginning on Monday, October 2.

Saturday, September 9, 1933
Vancouver Junior College manager John T. Todd announces the names of six faculty members. They are: Raymond A. Busco (business administration), Gilbert Erlandson (psychology and social science), Marian Hendrick (dramatics and art), Robert T. Oliver (English), Miriam M. Reinhart (history and mathematics), and Ralph Hanna (foreign languages).  (John Todd was the brother of Edward Todd, president of the College of Puget Sound.)

Monday, September 18, 1933
The Vancouver Evening Columbian reports that Vancouver Junior College registrar Ralph Hanna and English department head Robert Oliver have returned from the University of Washington and that accreditation for the new junior college is underway.

Tuesday, September 26, 1933
The Vancouver Women’s Club holds an open house at Hidden Hall in honor of the faculty members of Vancouver Junior College.

Thursday, September 28, 1933
The first day of registration at Vancouver Junior  College. According to Galapagon yearbooks and other records, Larry Rakestraw was the first -- and only -- student to enroll at the college that day.   According to "A History of the Vancouver Public Schools," Rakestraw, a graduate of Washougal High School, paid his entire year's tuition in advance.

The Hidden House, the first home of Clark CollegeSunday, October 1, 1933
The 1936 Galapagon yearbook cites October 1, 1933 as the date that Vancouver Junior College opened in the Hidden House in downtown Vancouver.  Classes began the next day:  Monday, October 2.

Thursday, October 5, 1933
In an advertisement in the Vancouver Evening Columbian, Vancouver Junior College announces evening school courses for adults. The fee for the non-credit courses, which are scheduled to begin on October 9, is $5 per course.

Monday, October 9, 1933

Vancouver Junior College opens evening school courses for adults.

Saturday, October 21, 1933
Vancouver Junior College is reorganized as director John W. Todd resigns and a new board of directors is established. That board includes: James O. Blair, E.L. French, Rev. Stuart Goude, Charles W. Hall and Mrs. Elizabeth Sterling.

Friday, November 3, 1933
The student body at Vancouver Junior College elected permanent officers. They were: president Chester Boddy, vice president Henry Straube, secretary-treasurer Helen Miller and sergeant-at-arms Joseph Kirch. Frances Wilde was elected to represent women students. Lawrence Rakestraw was elected to represent men students. Gilbert Erlandson was chosen faculty advisor, replacing Robert Oliver who had been named dean of the college.

Saturday, November 18, 1933
Following a contest, Clark Junior College is unveiled as the college’s new name. An article in The Columbian notes that “McLoughlin” was actually the leading designation. However, since “Clark,” “Lewis and Clark,” and “Clark County” drew combined twice as many votes as “McLoughlin,” the decision was made to choose Clark Junior College.

Tuesday, November 21, 1933
The Dramatic Club of Clark Junior College presents a double bill of one-act plays and marionette performances.

Friday, November 24, 1933
Clark Junior College faculty members travel to Seattle to attend the first meeting of the Washington State Association of Junior Colleges. The meeting was held at the University of Washington.

Tuesday, January 2, 1934
Registration opens for the second term at Clark Junior College.

Monday, January 8, 1934
Clark Junior College begins its second term. Classes include English composition and literature, psychology medieval history, modern history, English history, German, French, Spanish, mathematics, speech, methods of study and swimming. Tuition rates for the second term are the same as for fall quarter: $45. However, new students may save 10% by paying $81 for both of the remaining terms. Other expenses for the term such as medical fee, books, etc. was estimated at between $10 and $15.

Friday, June 1, 1934
Increasing its membership and unanimously reelecting its officers, the Clark Junior College association votes to raise $500 by individual subscriptions to complete the college’s first year of work. The money will be used to pay remaining bills, print the catalog for the next year and equip a chemistry laboratory. The association elected a dozen new members, bringing the total membership to 353, exclusive of the county’s high school principals and superintendents, who are ex-officio members. Rev. Stuart Goude was reelected president of the association.

Friday, June 15, 1934
Mrs. Frances Bunnell Wilde is the first graduate of Clark Junior College. Mrs. Wilde was the sole student to graduate as the college completed its first year of operation.  In his diary, Dean Robert Oliver described the historic ceremony.  

Elizabeth Gedney Christensen, Class of 1936, generously donated her program from the 1934 ceremony to the college.


1934-1935:  The college overcomes challenges to open for a second year

Friday, September 7, 1934
Clark Junior College announces plans to raise $5,000 to buy permanent equipment, including chemical laboratory supplies, library books, chairs, blackboards and other necessities.

Columbian article outlining reasons to support Clark Junior College fund drive

Monday, September 10, 1934

The Clark Junior College fundraising drive gets underway. A front page article in The Columbian lists six reasons “Why Clark Junior College Wants Your Support in Raising $5,000.” 

In 1976, Dean Robert Oliver shared his memories of those early years, noting that the fund drive raised less than $30.  Despite acknowledging what he called "deprivation," he said the word that better described the first two years at the college was "quality."

During the college's 50th anniversary, The Columbian newspaper ran an article featuring reminiscences by former Dean Robert Oliver in which he offered additional insights on the challenges that the college faced during its earliest years. 

Friday, September 14, 1934
The official Junior College stationery arrives – the college’s first – after, Dean Robert Oliver notes in his diary, a year of existence.

Thursday, September 20, 1934
Registration begins for fall quarter of Clark Junior College’s second year.

Monday, September 24, 1934
The second year of classes begins at Clark Junior College.

Wednesday, June 5, 1935
At the end of its second year, Clark Junior College held its first official graduation ceremony.  (The 1934 celebration was a dinner.)  Two students graduate:  Rodney Jeffrey and Lawrence Rakestraw, the first student to enroll at the college.  As the program notes, the ceremony was held at the Evergreen Hotel.  In an editorial, The Columbian took note of the college's accomplishments during its first two years.


Additional highlights from the 1930s


Student photo from 1936 Clark Junior College yearbook

Members of the Clark Junior College Class of 1936 pose on the steps of the Hidden House.  Front row (left to right):  Lois Payne, Elizabeth Gedney, Margaret McCamey, Dorthy Pearce.  Back row (left to right):  Raymond Mattson, Leonard James, Clarence Lund, William Moore.

Thursday, June 4, 1936
Clark Junior College holds its third annual commencement banquet

As noted in the program, Dean Lewis D. Cannell presents diplomas to graduates Elizabeth Gedney, Clarence Lund, Raymond Mattson, Margaret McCamey, William Moore, Lois Payne and Dorthy Pearce. 

Elizabeth Gedney served as editor of the college's 1936 yearbook, which was published by the Associated Students of Clark College and featured the photos above and below.   Both are believed to have been taken on the steps of the Hidden House, which was then home to the college.

The 1936 faculty members included Dean Lewis D. Cannell (top row, center), Homer P. Foster (Social Sciences) (top row, left), Ralph Hanna (Foreign Languages) (front row, right), Mrs. Willard P. Tyler (Registrar, Librarian), Albert M. Nanney (Lecturer in Business Law) (front row, left), Keith Wilcox (Mechanical Drawing) and Willard P. Tyler (Science).

1937 brings the college's first accreditation and the first yearbook named "Galapagon"

Spring 1937 brought the college's first accreditation by the University of Washington.  At the invitation of the college, a committee or five professors from the university visited Clark on March 12, 1937. 

According to the book "A History of the Vancouver Public Schools," the professors "inspected the accounts, the libraries and the laboratories, visited classes, conferred with instructors, chatted with students, had lunch with the board and talked with other members of the community." The book reported:  "Acknowledging the meagerness of facilities, the committee concluded that the quality of the work and the competence and earnestness of the faculty warranted the encouragement that accreditation would give."  As a result, Clark Junior College was accredited for one year.  (It has remained accredited throughout its history.)   The announcement was made on April 23, 1937.  One day later, The Columbian newspaper congratulated the "splendid little junior college" in an editorial.

In 1937, the college rented a building on Seventh Street which was owned by the Salvation Army.That fall, the college moved to its second location.  The building faced Seventh Street, near C Street, near a pedestrian gate to the Vancouver Barracks.  The building had been given to the Salvation Army after World War. 

The Salvation Army leased the building to the college for five years.  The cost:  $75 per month during the first two years of the agreement, $85 per month during the third and fourth years of the agreement, and $100 per month during the last year.  The first classes in that building were held on Monday, September 27, 1937.
Drawings of the Hidden House and Vancouver landmarks from the 1937 Galapagon yearbook

The 1937 yearbook is the first published with the Galapagon name.  In addition to the drawings of the Hidden House and Vancouver buildings (left), it includes this foreward:

We christen thee "Galapagon".  Thou derivest thy name from the Galapagos Islands, home of the penguin.  To posterity, we grant the right to name thee better, if they find it in their hearts to do so.  And so thou art "Galapagon", and thou shalt continue to be such until thou art something else. 

We dedicate thee to the future.  We dedicate thee to progress....
development.....improvement..... Clark Junior College ten, thirty, fifty years from now. 

The 1937 Galapagon also included the words to the college's first song, penned by Lawrence Rakestraw, the first student to enroll at Clark.

The class of 1938 at Clark Junior College
The class of 1938 at Clark Junior College:  graduates Margaret Bangs, Bill Barratt, Harold Christensen, Walter Devine, Clara Erickson, Alan Hollis, Morris Hutchison, Ernest Hull, Earl Ringle and Martha Wheeler

The thirties ended with another milestone for the college as it was accepted as a member of the American Association of Junior Colleges.  Dean Lewis Cannell noted, "Of the more than 550 junior colleges in the nation, about 350 are members of the association."