From its beginning in 1948, Salt Lake Community College has grown from a mere 207 students and an operating budget of $207,000 to more than 60,000 students and more than $100 million in expenses.

"We have come a long way," said SLCC President Cynthia A. Bioteau. "A lot has happened, but still our greatest accomplishments and our purpose for being remains embodied in our students."

The school's 60th anniversary showcased marked improvements over its one-building beginnings as the Salt Lake Area Vocational School in September 1948. SLCC currently serves students at 14 locations throughout the Salt Lake Valley, "allowing for a wide, diverse student body," Bioteau said.

Glasses were raised Thursday at the Taylorsville Redwood campus to commemorate the school's first 60 years and direct it into the next, Bioteau said, adding she hopes for even greater things to come.

Andrew Nelson, SLCC student association president, said students like himself should "take comfort in knowing that Salt Lake Community College is here to stay" and does what it can to stay up to date. Each advancement the school has taken, he said, has "been deliberate, evolving over time to rival neighboring colleges and universities."

"Because Salt Lake Community College has become what it is, our education won't suffer or be held back when compared to friends' at other schools because we chose to attend a community college," Nelson said.

As a community college, partnerships with business and industry leaders as well as organizations within the community are vital the the school's success, Bioteau said. Sixty local schools were selected to receive 60 books each, made possible with a commitment to raise the funds necessary through various donation efforts across SLCC campuses.

Terrie Wachter, director of the Kearns Recreation Center, which provides child care for school-age children, said the books will be an exciting release for children of all ages.

"They love to read," she said. "Unfortunately, books at a recreation center don't last as long as we'd like them to." The new collection, Wachter hopes, will give the more than 120 children at the center exposure to things like encyclopedias of nature and science, "things they don't see unless they're in school."

The birthday celebration came complete with hundreds of blue and gold cupcakes, balloons and a list of projects that will dot the academic year. Bruin pride was evident as cheers abounded from the amphitheater on campus.

"This place has not just come into Salt Lake Community College, but it's so much more than that," Nelson said, leading the crowd in applause for his school.

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