• CAC's 50 Anniversary Then and Now Image

History of Central Arizona College

Pinal County’s Community College

Then and Now

The process to establish a community college in Pinal County began July 1, 1961, when the Arizona Legislature passed a bill permitting counties with the necessary assessed valuation and potential numbers of students to form junior college districts. Pinal County voted in favor of organizing a district on Dec. 17, 1961.

Groundbreaking ceremonies were held at Signal Peak on Nov. 8, 1968 and Central Arizona College opened its doors in the fall of 1969 near the base of Signal Peak Mountain. Approximately 1,000 full-and part-time students registered for classes at the new campus.

The first graduates of CAC were recognized during commencement exercises on May 31, 1970. Twenty-five associate degrees were conferred. Just three years later, CAC saw its largest graduating class to date, with the college conferring 194 associate degrees.

During the 2013-14 academic year the college enrolled 11,746 students. More than 800 graduates were recognized from all five campuses during the 2015 district wide graduation ceremony. Since the first graduation conducted by the college over four decades ago, CAC has awarded 30,294 certificates and degrees to 21,760 students.

In addition to providing educational opportunities, CAC continues to play a significant role in Pinal County’s economy. According to a 2014 study conducted by Economic Modeling Specialist International (EMSI), CAC contributed $212.7 million to the county during fiscal year 2013-2014. Investments made by local taxpayers create a wide range of benefits to society. For every dollar of support, taxpayers see a return of $1.30 in the form of higher tax revenues and avoided costs.

During the 2018-19 academic year 768 graduates were recognized from all five campuses for a total of 807 degrees and certificates being awarded. The total number of degrees and certificates awarded by Central Arizona College since its establishment is 26,173 given to 18,768 individuals.

Central Arizona College has been serving and educating the diverse communities of Pinal County. With a total of five campuses and three centers located strategically throughout the county, CAC provides accessible, educational, economic, cultural, and personal growth opportunities for those of all ages.

This upcoming Fall semester will be CAC’s 50th! We are proud to have served Pinal County these 50 years!

For more information, view the 50th Anniversary Publication!

What Would You Like to See Happen in the Next 50 Years?

“Similar to our vision, in the next 50 years I would like to see that when community partners are in need of an educated workforce they look to CAC first, that the most sought after job in the state is working with the student success-driven CAC team, and that students have us at the top of their list when selecting a premier college or university.”

Jenni Cardenas, Ed.D.
Vice President of Student Services
Central Arizona College


“I would like to see CAC have an annual CAC GIVES Day  – a one day service day across the District that takes place during our Spring Week of Welcome.  That we are united in serving our community.”

Kim David
Director of Student Engagement & Activities


“I would like to see CAC be not only a college of convenience, but the college of choice for Pinal county residents. Together, we can create a college-going culture in this region and be a mover/shaker when it comes to education and workforce.”

W. Tramaine Rausaw, Ed.D.
Dean of Student Life
Central Arizona College


October 2019

San Tan’s Fall Festival

October 5 5 p.m.
Rocktacular on I Building Patio October 8  3 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Health Fair October 10 9:00 a.m.
CAC in Concert

October 10 7 p.m.
#CACRocks 5k Fun Run & Walk

October 19 7:30 a.m.
Maricopa Campus Harvest Festival

October 26 5 p.m – 9 p.m.
Theater Production

October 25-27 For event details, times, and schedules,
please visit: EventsAtCAC.com

November 2019

Vaquero Showcase

November 1 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Community Symphony Concert

November 4 7 p.m.
SMC Palooza

November 7 8:30 a.m. – noon
2019 Vaquero Awards

November 16 5 p.m.

November 20 7 p.m.
Community Band Concert

November 26 7 p.m.

December 2019

Nurse Pinning December 4 6 p.m.
Choral and Handbell Concert

December 8 3 p.m.

December 13-14 For event details, times, and schedules,
please visit: EventsAtCAC.com

January 2020

February 2020

Puppet Show February 4 10 a.m.
CAC Foundation – A Night of Stars 2020

February 7 6 p.m.
Alumni Concert

February 12 7 p.m.
Cowboy Days Parade

February 15 10 a.m.
Paperback Writer – Beatles Tribute

February 22 7 p.m.

March 2020

Black Women Walking, Theatrical Performance

March 6 7 p.m.
CAC Rodeo March 7 & 8 TBD

March 10 12 p.m.
CAC Creative Arts in Concert

March 12 7 p.m.
CAC 50th Anniversary Carnival Spring Fling

March 26
March 27
12 p.m. – 8 p.m.
2 p.m. – 10 p.m.

May 2020

CAC Choir, Handbell Choir

May 3 3 p.m.
Rocktacular Spring Final

May 6 7 p.m.
Opening of Time Capsule TBD TBD
Graduation May 15  7 p.m.


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