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A Colorful History - Part 2

In the next decade, the educational needs of the area became greater than the geographical focus of a Stockton College. Dr. Julio Bortolazzo took charge of the campus in 1952, when the college took on a different approach. It expanded its vocational programs and implemented the 6-4-4 plan. Dr. Burke Bradley Jr. followed him as president after which San Joaquin Delta College became a successor to Stockton College. Legally separated from Stockton Unified School District in 1963, the college encompassed virtually all of San Joaquin County and portions of three other counties. Dr. Bradley remained as president/superintendent.

The separation made Delta College a tenant on land owned by SUSD, and an attempt to develop a Delta multicampus system through a bond election failed in 1966 before Dr. Bortolazzo returned for one year to head a successful campaign in 1968-69.

This paid for a portion of construction of a $50 million campus. Today’s cost of $125 million would make it an impossibility to build in this era.

The Rio Vista-Isleton area in Solano County was annexed during this time. Dr. Joseph Blanchard took the presidency of Delta College in 1969, combined $19.8 million in construction bonds with funds from six other sources, and over the next seven years directed the building of Delta’s first permanent home.

The Delta College District grew to 2,300 square miles, larger than Delaware or Rhode Island, with the addition of part of Calaveras County in the summer of 1976, and now serves approximately 23,000 students.

Dr. Blanchard’s retirement in 1976 prompted college trustrees to make a nation-wide hunt for a new leader, resulting in the selection of Dr. Dale Parnell, former Chancellor of the San Diego Community College District and Superintendent of Public Instruction in Oregon. Dr. Dale Parnell, resigned on July 1, 1981 to take a position as president and chief executive officer of the American Association of Community and Junior Colleges.

In June of 1981, the College Board of Trustees chose Lawrence A. DeRicco as President/Superintendent. Dr. DeRicco, a graduate of the old Stockton College, had been an educator and businessman throughout the district before serving as Delta College’s Business Manager and Vice President/Management Services for 18 years.

Under Dr. DeRicco, the College entered a new era of limitations and consolidation with many foreseeable changes. During that time, DeRicco received an honorary Doctorate in Education from his alma mater, the University of the Pacific, for his contributions to the field of education. Dr. DeRicco retired in June of 1987 after 24 years of service to the district.

In 1987, Dr. L. H. Horton, Jr. took over as Superintendent/President. During his tenure, he oversaw the completion of a new physical plant, the creation of a new Child Development Center and initated the development of a new learning center in Tracy. Horton, the longest serving President to date, retired from the college in 1999 after thirteen years of service.

The millenium brought a new president. Edward O. Gould, Ed.D, was hired February 2000 to guide the college into the 21st century. He served as Vice Chancellor of Student Services at the California Community College Chancellor’s Office where he developed and recommended policy for the state’s 107 colleges and 71 districts in the areas of student services and services to special populations. He is the former Superintendent/President of Victor Valley College and Monterey Peninsula College.

Dr. Raul Rodriguez joined Delta College in Fall 2002 as our Superintendent/President. Under Dr. Rodriguez, a bond for $250 million was passed in 2004. The bond will be used to upgrade and expand the Stockton campus and expand and establish Education Centers in Delta College’s region.

Delta College is proud of representing an area that launched California into world prominence, for the Mother Lode era brought about the great western expansion.

The partnership with the University of the Pacific continues. The two institutions combine to offer four years and graduate opportunities in higher education. California State University, Stanislaus is also a cooperative Educational Partner.


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San Joaquin Delta College
5151 Pacific Ave
Stockton, California 95207
(209) 954-5151