Timeline: 1915-1924 1925-1934 1935-1944 1945-1954 1955-1964 1965-1974 1975-1984 1985-1994 1995-2005


"The college celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1965-66 school year. The next ten years would bring continued growth and campus expansion like none before in the college's history."
The next ten years would bring continued growth and campus expansion like none before in the college’s history.  The growth requires the college to lease space at the Midway Building, YMCA, Armory, Central Junior High School Auditorium and other public buildings.  Enrollment would top 2000 in 1967.   

The college celebrated its 50th anniversary during the1965-66 school year. 

The era would also mark the retirement of Marie Matte and Louise Barthelemy. Matte served 42 years, longer than any employee in the college’s history.  She was the longtime adviser for the RAJUCO yearbook and the Echo. Barthelemy taught 37 years and served for 30 years as the PTK advisor.

In 1965, the Minnesota Legislature authorized $1 million combined with a federal match of $800,000 for a new college campus.  On January 10, 1967 ground was broken for a new 160-acre community college campus.


In September 1968, classes began at the new campus with four buildings, including Endicott, Singley, the Library and Administration building.


A new college campus brought an end to the Coffman Building era and the home of RJC for 53 years.



In 1970 Rockenbach Gym and the Classroom Office Building known as Plaza West opens. The third phase of construction, including a college center and fine arts center along with expansion of nursing, science and technology space, begins in 1971.  The final phase of the new campus begins in 1974 and includes a theatre building, additional classrooms and offices. 

The Rochester School Board made the decision to build a Vocational Institute in 1966.  The project is led by former RJC staff member Emil Heintz. The project creates debate over duplication and sparks merger discussions that would continue for the next 30 years. 


Rochester Vocational Institute opens its doors in 1969 with 14 courses. 



Rochester Vocational Institute’s early leadership included Chuck Harwood, Fred Hodges, Dale Haugen, Betty Jo Dorschner, Kathy Monnet and a young faculty member named Don Supalla.


John Borg would graduate and go to Bemidji State University where he was elected student senate president. He later became a Hennepin County Judge. 

Warren Skarren graduated from RSJC and then served as the student body president at Rice University.   He would go on to write screenplays for such movies as Batman, Top Gun, Beetlejuce and Beverly Hills Cop 2.   


Graduate Wayne Ford was later elected to the Iowa State Legislature and was featured in Dan Rather’s book “The American Dream.” Ford wrote a column in the Echo “Black on Campus.”


Football returned in 1968 under Cy Champa who would become the college’s all time winningest coach with a career record of 142 wins, 20 loses and 3 ties.


Dean Carlson would be one of the college's first All-Americans in football and lead the team to its first post-season bowl appearance in the Wool Bowl in 1969. 


In 1969 the college lost another of its greats with the death of Joe “Rocky” Rockenbach.

Faculty member Walter Bateman publishes his 7th book.

In 1973 RSJC becomes Rochester Community College. 


The Vocational Institute graduates its first class in 1970 with 140 graduates.

In 1974 the Vocational Institute changes its name and becomes Rochester Area Vocational Technical Institute.


The college continues to grow and record numbers of students graduate as the era of the new campus ends in 1974.


Rochester Community and Technical College :: 851 30th Ave SE, Rochester, MN 55904-4999
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