Delta sees major evolution over five decades


When Delta College opened its doors in 1963,  a gallon of gas went for the whopping cost of 30 cents, a stamp cost 4 cents and the average cost of a home was under $20,000.

The main building of the original Stockton College in the 1960s.
The main building of the original Stockton College in the 1960s. PHOTO COURTESY OF DELTA COLLEGE

Today, gas prices are slowing climbing back towards the $4.50 mark, stamps just went up to 46 cents each and  homes in Stockton sell for around $200,000.

Much has changed in those years, but one thing remains the same: Delta College continues to be a go-to  location for decent, affordable public education where students can complete lower-division units before transferring to four-year colleges.

The school celebrates 50 years this year.

In the early 1960s, Delta opened as Stockton College near Pershing Avenue in buildings now occupied by our educational neighbor, University of the Pacific.

In 1963, with a move across the Calaveras River to our own space , once occupied by a state mental hospital, the school became San Joaquin Delta College.

The first classes were offered at the now Pacific Avenue location in the Cunningham Center in 1973.

The college’s history is vast, with many big names gracing the halls and walls students walk through every day. The Tillie Lewis Theatre is named after Stockton’s “Tomato Queen.” The Shima Building is named after George Shima, the first Japanese-American millionaire also known as the “Potato King.”

As part of this celebration, The Collegian will feature historical photos of Delta College through the years that celebrate this historic anniversary.


1960: Stockton College opened, south of the University of the Pacific campus, between N. Kensington Way, W. Mendocino Ave. and Pershing Ave.
1963: Name changed to San Joaquin Delta College.
1973: The college began offering classes in the Cunningham Center.
1973: Disney’s film “The World’s Greatest Athlete” was filmed on campus.