Rio Hondo College

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Rio Hondo College
Rio Hondo College logo.jpg
Type Public Community College
Established 1963
Endowment $79.6 million (2011)[1]
President Teresa Dreyfuss [2]
Vice-President, Academic Affairs Dr. Kenn Pierson[2]
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Location Whittier, California, USA
34°01′08″N 118°02′01″W / 34.01889°N 118.03361°W / 34.01889; -118.03361Coordinates: 34°01′08″N 118°02′01″W / 34.01889°N 118.03361°W / 34.01889; -118.03361
Nickname Roadrunners
Mascot Roadrunner
Website Rio Hondo College
Former Rio Hondo College library

Rio Hondo College is a community college located in the city of Whittier, California, United States, named after the Rio Hondo. Founded in 1960, it mainly serves the cities of Whittier, Pico Rivera, Santa Fe Springs, El Monte, and South El Monte. The college is accredited by Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Aside from its academic programs, the college is also home to Rio Hondo Fire Academy and Rio Hondo Police Academy.

Rio Hondo offers on-campus, online, and off-campus courses to all of its students.


Rio Hondo College District was established in October 1960, encompassing the boundaries of Whittier Union High School District.[3] As it expanded to include the El Rancho Unified and El Monte Union High School Districts, it established a Board of Trustees in April 1962. In May 1963, the Board named the proposed community college Rio Hondo, named after the neighboring Rio Hondo River.[3]

While voters in the district approved a US$12 million to build Rio Hondo College in October 1963, classes were temporarily conducted at Sierra and El Rancho High Schools.[3] The present campus, off Workman Mill Road, was opened for classes in Fall 1966.[3]

In October 2011, the Rio Hondo College Board adopted a "No Cuts" budget, while neighboring community colleges were suffering from across-the-board budget cuts due to insufficient state funding.[4] In October 2011, the college's president, Ted Martinez Jr. filed a formal grievance against 3 professors at the school, who were active union leaders. He said that they had created a hostile work environment which caused him to suffer a stroke.[5] The president requested that the Board of Trustees hire a consultant for an initial payment of $5,000, without telling the Board that it was for an independent investigator for the claim. The cost later blossomed to $40,000. The independent investigator Angela J. Reddock found that the claim had no merit. Ted Martinez, Jr. retired when the Board of Trustees upheld the findings of the investigator. An action against the Rio Hondo Community College District was filed by the California Teacher's Association for an unfair labor practice.


In 2010-2011, Rio Hondo College enrolled 12,672 full-time students with a total of 20,671 in Fall 2010.[6] The largest group of students consists of 20- to 24-year-olds (30%).[7] The second largest group (20%) were 19 or younger.[7] The average age of students at Rio Hondo is 26.[1] 51% of students intended to transfer.[1]

The ethnic breakdown is as follows: Hispanic (72%), White (5%), Asian/Pacific Islander (3%), Black (1%), other/decline to state (18%).[1]

The top feeder high schools (2005-2009) are as follows: Whittier High School, El Rancho High School, Montebello High School, California High School, Schurr High School, Santa Fe High School and Pioneer High School.[6]

Student life[edit]

All full-time students (students enrolled in 12 or more units in a semester) are eligible for a free bus pass for transportation with the Norwalk Transit, Metro, Foothill Transit, Sunshine Shuttle and Montebello Bus Lines. Negotiations between the Rio Hondo College Board of Trustees created this program as early as 2006, which was proposed by Gary Mendez, Governing Board Member and followed by staff member Dr. Andy Howard.[8] The program was named the Rio Hondo College Bus Pass Subsidy Program, and has since been dubbed "GO RIO" and officially began during the 2006–2007 school year.[9] In 2012, the school also received a $500,000 federal grant to run a shuttle bus around campus.[10]

The official student newspaper of the college is titled El Paisano.[11]

El Paisano


In October 2010, the Rio Hondo College Police Academy was suspended by the California government's Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, following a security breach in testing.[12]

National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium[edit]

Rio Hondo College is a NAFTC Training Center.


In 2004, voters in the Rio Hondo College Community School District approved Measure A, which gave the school US$245 million to renovate the campus, including the construction of new buildings on campus, such as the Learning Resource Center and Library, Student Services and Student Union and Administration of Justice Buildings (completed 2011).[1][13] Construction began in 2006 and is expected to continue until 2018, as part of the master plan.[14][15] Rio Hondo College has also expanded off-site, at the 3,200 square feet (300 m2) South Whittier Educational Center and plans to construct a 4,352 square feet (404.3 m2) facility in El Monte.[13][16]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Report to the Community 2011" (PDF). Rio Hondo College. 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Rio Hondo College Board of Trustees". Rio Hondo College. Retrieved February 22, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d "History of the College" (PDF). Rio Hondo College. 2006. 
  4. ^ "RIO HONDO COLLEGE BOARD ADOPTS ‘NO CUTS’ BUDGET" (PDF). Rio Hondo College. October 7, 2011. Retrieved February 22, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Rio Hondo College president accuses professors of defamation". Whittier Daily News. December 7, 2011. Retrieved February 22, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "State of the College" (PDF). Rio Hondo College. Fall 2011. 
  7. ^ a b "Overview and Demographics" (PDF). Rio Hondo College. 2006. pp. 35–48. Retrieved February 22, 2012. 
  8. ^ "RIO HONDO COLLEGE UNVEILS A TRANSPORTATION PILOT PROGRAM". Rio Hondo College. March 28, 2006. Retrieved 2008-03-06. 
  9. ^ "Rio Hondo College Bus Pass Subsidy Program (GO RIO)" (PDF). July 5, 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-06. 
  10. ^ Molina, Sandra (January 22, 2012). "Rio Hondo College gets new eco-friendly shuttle bus". Whittier Daily News. Retrieved February 22, 2012. 
  11. ^ El Paisano newspaper. Retrieved on 2008-03-06.
  12. ^ Garcia, Tracy (October 5, 2010). "Rio Hondo police academy suspended, investigated for testing breach". Whittier Daily News. Retrieved February 22, 2012. 
  13. ^ a b "Building Program update" (PDF). Rio Hondo College. Retrieved February 22, 2012. 
  14. ^ "THE CONSTRUCTION PROCESS BEGINS AT RIO HONDO COLLEGE" (PDF). Rio Hondo College. April 3, 2006. Retrieved February 22, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Rio Hondo Campus Master Plan Schedule" (PDF). West Edge Architects. Rio Hondo College. Retrieved February 22, 2012. 
  16. ^ "News" (PDF). Rio Hondo College. Summer 2011. 

External links[edit]