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History of Raritan Valley Community College

Founded on November 16, 1965, as Somerset County College by resolution of the Somerset County Board of Freeholders, the College was officially established April 5, 1966, by the appointment of a nine-member Board of Trustees. Somerset County College opened its doors to 229 students on September 12, 1968 at its temporary home: Green Brook High School. In May of 1970, the first commencement was held for 75 graduates.

In July of 1968, the College found a permanent home with the purchase of a 240-acre site in North Branch. With the first phase of construction underway, an interim facility - the current Arts Building - was built to house all College operations. In September 1973, students finally moved into new, permanent facilities that included the current Hunterdon Hall and Somerset Hall buildings. The second phase of construction was completed in1975, adding to the complex a new College Center - including the cafeteria, bookstore, Student Enrollment Center, Student Activities area - and a Physical Education building featuring a full gymnasium, fitness center and swimming pool. The campus continued to grow with the opening in 1985 of a new library and 1,000-seat Theatre.

The College's major redefining moment came in November 1986, when freeholders from Hunterdon and Somerset approved co-sponsorship of the College. The first bi-county college in the state was officially named "Raritan Valley Community College" in July 1987.

With the merger and new name, the College continued to expand.March 1990 marked the official opening of the 100-seat Planetarium. As part of the College's 25th anniversary celebration in 1993, the library was named to honor founding trustee Evelyn S.Field, and the Theatre was named for founding trustee Edward Nash. In June 1993, a Child Care Center opened to serve the children of RVCC students, faculty, staff and administrators. The Center for Advanced Teaching and Technology, which opened in 1994, brought multimedia resources into the classroom via fiber optics, enabling RVCC to become the first community college in the state to offer the new classroom technology. Four years later, the state-of-the-art Conference Center opened, serving as a conduit to bring the corporate and academic communities together. In January1999 the college opened a satelite location in Franklin Township, Somerset County. Franklin Center offers both credit and professional development courses.

Recent additions to the College complex include the Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Resource Center and the Paul Robeson Institute for Ethics, Leadership and Social Justice. In September 2002, the Christine Todd Whitman Science Center opened. The state-of-the-art facility houses the biology, biotechnology, chemistry, physics and engineering laboratories, as well as a lecture hall that provides interactive centers for teaching using technology. An Academic Support Center opened in September 2005, enabling students who need extra help in such areas as math, writing or science to find everything they need in one centralized location at the College. The 44,500 square-foot West Building, the largest classroom building on campus, opened for classes in the Fall 2007. The facility, which houses the Computer Science Department's faculty offices and most of the department's classes, contains 18 classrooms and a multimedia laboratory.

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