Phoenix, the 1920s: the population census records 29,053 residents, commercial buildings shoot upwards, the Orpheum Theater opens, and the revolution of air conditioning is introduced. And on September 13, 1920, Phoenix College convened its first classes on the Phoenix Union High School campus at Taylor Street and 6th Avenue. Two years later, in May of 1922, it celebrated its first graduating class of five students: four men and one woman.

This year, with nearly one million alumni in the books, Phoenix College has kicked off its centennial celebration, paying tribute to its long history as an inclusive institution. The celebration will culminate on November 21, 2020, at the 100 Year Affair gala at the Arizona Biltmore resort. Proceeds from the centennial celebration will fund the new ‘My Future Scholarship’ which will increase education equity, access and opportunity for underrepresented students.

Phoenix College has a long history as a pioneering institution with a special place in Phoenix and Arizona’s history. Its founders envisioned the college as a place of inclusion, and it continues to be an example of diversity and equity. Phoenix College remains dedicated to providing access to valuable and affordable education for Arizona residents and developing relevant cutting-edge programs for community partners.

“As we embark on our centennial celebration, we look back and see that Phoenix College has always been so much more than a school – we are an integral part of the community,” says Dr. Larry Johnson, Phoenix College President. “Phoenix College plays a significant role in raising the skill level of Arizona’s workforce and in closing the educational achievement gap. As we look to the future, we look forward to providing even more to our students and to the community.”

For more information about the centennial or to donate to the Centennial Celebration campaign, visit