Skyline’s 35th Anniversary

Skyline’s 35th Anniversary Slideshow

On April 28, 2005, Skyline College conducted festivities to celebrate and honor its 35th anniversary, combining the celebration with the inauguration of new high-tech athletic facilities and the dedication of the recently-planted learning grove of trees, which signify the growth of Skyline College into the future, and the honoring of people who over the years have made significant contribution to the college.

About 200 people attended the event, which took place at the new baseball athletic field.

During the event, Skyline’s seventh College President, Victoria Morrow, thanked the founders and the community for getting the college started 35 years ago.

The festivities included performances of live music and traditional dancing. There wasa celebratory pitch and catch of a baseball of community dignatories, to signify the official dedication of Skyline’s new sports complex. Hot dogs, ice cream and sodas were provided for all.

Skyline’s Founding President, Phil Garlington, accompanied by his wife, Ellis, was also one of the major VIPs in attendance.

After the dedication ceremony for the “Founders Learning Grove of Trees,” founding President Garlington spoke with the Skyline View.

“It’s always good to come back here,” Garlington said.

Garlington reflected on his years at Skyline. “I probably learned a lot. I’d been an administrator at other schools, but somehow I thought Skyline was special. I tried to hire all staff that was smarter than I was. That way, you get a good school. Otherwise, you perpetuate mediocrity. And their talents made me look good.”

Garlington said in the beginning, there were no trees at Skyline. The first tree planted at Skyline, he said, was planted by his wife, Ellis. He also said they would talk friends into getting living Christmas trees so that they could then be planted at Skyline, and many were.

Many students attended, as well as some who took a break from their classes.

Kristina Chance, student, said, “I think it’s great that there’s this low-cost opportunity for students to learn and prepare themselves to further their education later.”

John, another student taking a break from classes, who declined to give his last name, said, “Today is a good day to take a break from scholastic learning…”

It was also a time, John said, to learn a little bit more about the school.

Looking back, on the early years, may perhaps teach us all a little bit more…

1969 was a very big year at 3300 College Drive in San Bruno, California. A brief look back …

Those who are among the lucky few who were able to attend the opening of Skyline College 35 years ago got to touch the texture of Skyline College first opening its doors on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 1969, a rare and profound experience. The following excerpts and reflections may help make that connection in providing a peek at the life for students, staff and faculty alike.

Opening day was later described in the students’ newspaper The Skyline Press, as “opening a birthday present. It’s a surprise… something you know is going to happen, but can’t believe it…” The surrounding communities and northernmost cities in San Mateo County finally had their own junior college-a transformation on land that was once a dairy farm on a hill.

One hundred and four acres, purchased in 1957 for $900 each, stood proud and embellished by a junior college, an institution of learning, at a cost of $10.3 million for construction, negative of landscaping or walkways.

The college opened with 1700 full-time students and 75 teachers.

Two evenings later, a welcome dance was held in the gymnasium from 8 in the evening until midnight. People attending had to wear gym or tennis shoes, “for dancing and rocking purposes,” as reported in the students’ newspaper, the Skyline Press. Admission was $1.

When it opened, the college had a Dean of Men, and a Dean of Women. What would we make of titles like those today?

Skyline’s current President Victoria Morrow said “We wouldn’t know what to make of it.”

There were intriguing classes and programs in the early days, some of which don’t exist at the college today. The human anatomy class in the “Learning in Action” Program actually received two cadavers, one male, one female, for some hands-on experience, though no one today can tell where dissecting actually took place.

Students could sign up for Pom-Pom class. Soccer was also popular. The Skyline Soccer squad embellished the athletics program.

Anyone interested could learn to be an air traffic controller.

For arts and acting enthusiasts, there were drama classes. Students presented four to five shows a semester.

The first student government election in 1969 at Skyline brought out almost one third of the registered students to vote. Morrison Browne won with a large majority of the vote.

Winter weather conditions made it possible to build a snowman on campus in the early 70s.

The fabric of life at the college included one of great social awareness. As student unrest was brewing throughout the country over the Vietnam War, Skyline students viewed themselves as citizens of the world when on Oct. 15, 1969, Skyline College students and faculty observed the day as a moratorium on the war in Vietnam. This was part of the national demonstration to protest the United States policies on the war.

In 1970, an extension of the unrest caused dispute on campus over flying the American flag upside down in the student body office.

The social awareness of students in those years was recalled by Dr. Christine Case, current faculty member and professor at Skyline since Feb. 3, 1971.

“The students were very much active, and were awakening to problems and abuse of an environment with no conservation. Those students took trash to places they hoped would recycle. It’s because of those students that we recycle to save and preserve as we do today.”

As a faculty member, Dr. Case reflected on very important day in her life: Feb. 3, 1971.

“The education of the next generation is very vital. That was a huge day in my life, to have such an important job.”

Don Biederman, an original faculty member and current online counselor to students said, “Working at Skyline College for 35 years has provided me with immeasurable job satisfaction. I am extremely grateful to have spent these years, where each day eager and appreciative students interact with talented and committed faculty in the pursuit of education. It has been especially meaningful to me that so many of our students have achieved so much, often overcoming obstacles that would have thwarted so many others.”

Morrow, who’s been at the college just a short five months, said she was honored to be part of it all.

“For me personally, it’s neat to come in at such a huge landmark time, with a chance to meet people that through the ordinary course of events wouldn’t have happened.”

What’s advanced over time?

“We moved from a very low-tech approach to teaching into a much more technological approach,” Morrow said.

There were no iPods, wireless connections, pagers, cell phones, personal computers, overheads, projectors, VCRs or DVD players in 1969. There weren’t even any trees.

Jerry Peel, Skyline’s public information officer, said, “In my opinion, let’s go back to the old fashioned math.” Peel said there was no dependence on calculators, since there weren’t any available at the time. People had to think for themselves.

Today at Skyline, there’s an incredible emphasis on diversity. In 1969, the student body was 88% Caucasian. We were “much whiter”, Morrow said. “Now, we have a very rich mix of students and diversity. We are accepting of d
ifferences and this college has articulated values that say, we care about diversity and the human culture that exists.”

In 1769, a mere 200 years earlier, the Portola Expedition, led by Don Gaspar de Portola, a small party of 63 men and 200 horses, stumbled upon San Francisco Bay from Sweeny Ridge, above where Skyline was built 200 years later.

In such a short period of time, vast numbers of students have undertaken their education at Skyline College. We have changed rapidly, and will continue to do so in the future.

What was the price in ’69-’70?Hot dog $0.30 Cheeseburger $0.50Panty hose $0.88Flair or Bell Bottom Levi Jeans $7.00Get eight lbs of clothes cleaned $2.50Eight-track tape cartridges $4.99