|Established||January 15, 1957|
|President||Thuy Thi Nguyen, J.D.|
|Campus||Suburban, 122 acres (0.49 km2)|
|Colors||Scarlet, black & white|
|Affiliations||De Anza College|
|Mascot||Footsie the Owl|
Foothill College is a community college in Los Altos Hills, California. It is part of the Foothill–De Anza Community College District. It was founded on January 15, 1957 by Founding Superintendent and President Dr. Calvin C. Flint. The college offers 79 Associate degree programs, 1 Bachelor's degree program, and 107 certificate programs.
In July 1956, Palo Alto Unified School District Superintendent Henry M. Gunn called a meeting of local school superintendents that led to the creation of Foothill College. Calvin Flint, then President of Monterey Peninsula College, was hired as the first District Superintendent and President; he started work on March 1, 1958.
Candidates for the new college's name, besides Foothill, were Peninsula, Junipero Serra, Mid-Peninsula, Earl Warren, Herbert Hoover, North Santa Clara, Altos, Valley, Skyline, Highland, and Intercity. At first the name was Foothill Junior College, but because Flint insisted that his new college would be "not junior to anyone", the Board dropped the "Junior" in September 1958.
Foothill held its first classes in the old Highway School campus on El Camino Real in Mountain View on September 15, 1958. It was accredited by March of the next year and was the first school in the state to ever reach full accreditation in less than six months. The owl mascot originated from a concrete owl that was a decoration on the Highway School's bell tower; it was later moved to the new campus.
The campus was designed by architect Ernest Kump and landscape architects Hideo Sasaki and Peter Walker, to resemble a neo-Japanese garden. The Foothill College was intended as a junior college for 3,500 full-time students, within the 122-acre campus, the first of many junior colleges built after World War II in California. Soon after its completion, Foothill was widely recognized as a pioneer, setting high standards for new campus design.
Traditionally, Foothill serves the communities of Los Altos Hills, Los Altos, Mountain View, and Palo Alto; together these communities form the northwest corner of Silicon Valley. The college sits next to Interstate 280, at the interchange with El Monte Road.
In 1993, Foothill and its sister school De Anza College became the first California Community Colleges to offer Domestic Partner benefits. The colleges were among a very small number of institutions of higher education to do so, with Pitzer College and the University of Iowa in 1991 and Stanford and the University of Chicago in 1992.
In 2003, to accommodate nearly 14,000 students on a campus designed for 3,500, the college began renovating almost the entire campus, including demolition and replacement of unsafe buildings. Two of the new buildings in the lower campus complex have green roofs topped with grass.
In 2002, a second campus was opened on the site of the former Cubberley High School in Palo Alto, in facilities leased from the Palo Alto School District. In September 2016, this was replaced by the Sunnyvale Center, which the college built on part of the site of the now closed Onizuka Air Force Station, preserving artefacts from the "Blue Cube" and embedding shards of its skin in walkways. The new center can accommodate more than 1,600 students.
Foothill College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community & Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. This organization is recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education. Foothill is also accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation, American Medical Association Council on Medical Education, and Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.
- Dr. Calvin C. Flint (1957–1973)
- Dr. Hubert H. Semans (1967–1973)
- Dr. James S. Fitzgerald (1973–1982)
- Dr. Thomas H. Clements (1982–1994)
- Dr. Bernadine Chuck Fong (1994–2006)
- Dr. Penny Patz (interim President) (2006–2007)
- Dr. Judy Miner (2007–2015)
- Dr. Kimberlee Messina (interim President) (2015–2016)
- Thuy Thi Nguyen, J.D. (2016–present[update])
- Business & Social Sciences
- Counseling & Student Services
- Fine Arts & Communication
- Instructional Services & Libraries
- Language Arts
- Kinesiology & Athletics
- Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics
Foothill is a member of the Coast Conference of the California Community College Commission on Athletics and NorCal Football Conference. The school mascot is an owl. The Los Altos Hills campus has a track and field that is open to the public.
- Men's & Women's Basketball
- Men's & Women's Soccer
- Men's & Women's Swimming
- Men's & Women's Tennis
- Women's Softball
- Women's Volleyball
- Women's Water Polo
- Women's Beach Volleyball
Foothill's student government is known as the Associated Students of Foothill College (ASFC). Student government provides its student body the opportunity to self-govern and participate with faculty, staff and administration.
Five Foothill professors have won the Hayward Award of the Academic Senate of the California Community Colleges, given each year to a faculty member who has a "track record of excellence in both teaching and professional activities". Foothill's winners include Jay Manley, Mike McHargue, Elizabeth Barkley, Andrew Fraknoi, and Scott Lankford. In addition, Frank Cascarano is a Fellow of the American Association of Physics Teachers.
Foothill College's Physics Show, started in 2007 by physics professors Frank Cascarano and David Marasco on the model of The Wonders of Physics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, is one of the largest popular physics presentations in the US, with an annual audience of more than 20,000, with a total attendance of over 140,000. Proceeds from The Physics Show are used to bus students from local Title 1 schools to Foothill for special performances of the show.
The campus serves a very large number of international students who are attempting to acquire associate degrees as the basis for transferring into prestigious American universities; according to a Community College Week survey in 2001, Foothill had the 12th highest population of international students out of all community colleges in the United States. The school was harshly criticized in 2002 by the Wall Street Journal for its aggressive recruitment of such students, since they are a lucrative revenue source who pay a much higher tuition.
On December 10, 2001, Foothill College abruptly canceled its men's basketball season after completing just six games. Questions arose over how housing and tuition for six foreign players were being paid by Tariq Abdul-Wahad, then with the NBA's Denver Nuggets and alumnus of San Jose State University.
Foothills Electronics Museum
Between 1973 and 1991, an electronics museum stood on the Foothill College campus. The museum was established with the help of the Douglas Perham Electronic Foundation, which wanted a permanent home for its extensive electronics collection, including papers of the inventor of the vacuum tube amplifier, Lee de Forest. The foundation raised money to construct a museum building on the Foothill campus and donated its collection to the college. The museum opened in 1973, and was initially operated by employees of Foothill College for six years until 1979, just after the passage of Proposition 13 rolled back property taxes and reduced funds to run the college. In response to the funding shortage, volunteers began staffing the museum.
However, in 1988, the college board of trustees decided to close the museum, sell or donate the assets, and use the space for classrooms. A newly appointed Perham board member, Bart Lee, took on the case and sued Foothill, claiming the college violated an agreement with the Perham Foundation. The foundation was eventually awarded $775,000, which they used to document, pack up, and place the collection in storage before a 1991 deadline. The collection stayed in storage for twelve years, before being acquired in 2003 by History San José and put on display as The Perham Collection of Early Electronics.
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- Adrienne Barbeau, actress in the TV series Maude, and former wife of the film director John Carpenter
- Rudy Arroyo, Major League Baseball player
- Rick Bladt, Major League Baseball player
- Gene Block, chancellor of the University of California, Los Angeles
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- College of San Mateo, a community college located in San Mateo
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