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Celebrating 60 Years Of San Joaquin Delta College
A chemistry student is shown working in a lab at Delta in 2023.

In summer 1963, as the calendar turned to July, so turned the page on a major era in the history of what was then known as Stockton College.

On July 1 the College officially separated from the Stockton Unified School District, adopting the “San Joaquin Delta College” name and becoming the newest independent community college in California.

Sixty years later, much has changed in the region and in the world, but the name remains the same. Delta College has served untold thousands of students from San Joaquin County and beyond, propelling them to universities across the country and into new careers here at home, while generating billions of dollars for the local economy.

Delta is recognizing the anniversary of its name with a gallery of historic images at

“Sixty years is a long time, and it is hard to summarize the immense impact that Delta College has had on the communities we serve over all these years,” said Superintendent/President Dr. Lisa Aguilera Lawrenson. “I’m proud of the efforts of our faculty and staff both past and present, I’m proud of our students and alumni for their perseverance and achievements, I’m thankful to the Board of Trustees for its leadership, and I’m thankful to our communities for their support and partnership.”

Delta College actually dates all the way back to 1935, when Stockton College came into existence. But for many years the College operated under the umbrella of Stockton Unified. Dr. Burke Bradley, who was named president of the College in 1956, ultimately decided that the College would never properly develop until it was able to operate as a totally independent district, according to retired history professor Chuck Bloch.

The public finally approved establishment of an independent college district in September 1962. Leaders studied no fewer than 129 potential names, including “San Joaquin College” and just “Delta College,” before settling on San Joaquin Delta College.

The College officially took control of its own destiny on July 1, 1963, and eventually moved to the present-day Pacific Avenue campus in the 1970s.

Today, Delta College acts as a catalyst in the lives of students across the region, nearly half of whom are the first in their families to seek higher education. Some students transfer to universities to continue their education, while others launch directly into modern careers like robotics and electron microscopy, a field in which Delta is the only community college in the nation to offer training.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Delta remained open so that students could train in essential employment sectors such as nursing and law enforcement.

In addition to quality programs, Delta offers affordability in an era of extreme college debt. Two-thirds of Delta students receive free tuition, and programs are in place to provide students with free or low-cost food supplies, healthcare, and even on-campus laundry services.

“We are just getting started at Delta and I can’t wait to see what we are able to accomplish together in the years to come,” Dr. Aguilera Lawrenson said.

Fall Semester registration is now underway. Visit to get started.

To learn more about the Delta advantage, visit

This was San Joaquin Delta College’s first logo, circa 1963.