History of DCCCD

Citizens of Dallas County have always supported the colleges of DCCCD with funding and human resources. The colleges have become an important asset to students and members of the community, and their investment has paid dividends in economic development, workforce training and undergraduate education.

Almost 50 years ago, a visionary Board of Trustees that included such Dallas luminaries as R.L. Thornton II, Mrs. Margaret McDermott and DCCCD’s founding chancellor, Dr. Bill J. Priest, set a daunting goal: Create the best community college district in the United States.

They, and numerous other Dallas County civic leaders who supported their efforts, were dedicated to providing citizens with access to quality education that was both convenient and affordable. Thanks to their determination and hard work, Dallas citizens created Dallas County Community College District in 1965. El Centro College, DCCCD’s first, opened in 1966.

The seven colleges and five community campuses of DCCCD enroll a total of more than 83,000 credit and 20,000 continuing education students each semester. More than four decades of growth and progress are a credit to the vision of Dallas-area citizens.

DCCCD Digital Archives Collection

Explore the district's visual history through our Digital Archives Collection, featuring historical photographs, video recordings and newspapers. The searchable collection is organized in categories for each college and the district.

Timeline of Key Events in DCCCD’s History

Dallas County voters created the Dallas County Junior College District and approved a $41.5 million bond issue to finance it.

Founding Chancellor Dr. Bill J. Priest is hired.

El Centro College began serving students in downtown Dallas.

Eastfield College in Mesquite and Mountain View College in southwest Dallas enrolled their first students.

Richland College opened in north Dallas.

The Dallas County Junior College District changes its name to the Dallas County Community College District.   

An additional $85 million in bonds supported DCCCD’s expansion, and construction began on three more colleges. Cedar Valley College in Lancaster and North Lake College in Irving opened.

Brookhaven College in Farmers Branch enrolled its first students.

The Bill J. Priest Institute for Economic Development (now the Bill J. Priest Campus of El Centro College) opened south of downtown Dallas, serving individuals and businesses of all sizes with training programs customized to meet their needs.

The R. Jan LeCroy Center for Educational Telecommunications opened. The LeCroy Center is one of the largest producers of distance education products in the nation.


The colleges of DCCCD welcomed their first class of 693 students into the Rising Star program.


DCCCD appointed the district’s first Hispanic chancellor, Dr. Jesus Carreon.


Voters overwhelmingly approved a $450 million bond package that provided new facilities for all seven colleges and created five new community education campuses designed to provide higher education opportunities for under-served or fast-growing areas in Dallas County.


Richland College became the first community college in the United States to receive the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.


DCCCD welcomed its first African-American chancellor, Dr. Wright Lassiter Jr., who previously had served as president of El Centro College for 20 years.


Late in the year, DCCCD’s administrative offices moved from 701 Elm St. to renovated historic facilities at 1601 S. Lamar St. in south Dallas.


The completion of 28 new buildings, including five community education campuses, signaled the close of the bond program approved by voters in 2004.


DCCCD welcomed Dr. Joe May as its seventh chancellor. Dr. May began his higher education career as an adjunct faculty member at Cedar Valley College.