History of Valencia

Valencia College is proof that great things can come from small beginnings. In fall of 1967 we began as Valencia Junior College in a few portable buildings on West Oakridge Road in Orlando.

Although the facilities weren't lofty, our goals were: we wanted to help our students become as successful as possible in their classes, their careers and their lives. Armed with a passion for teaching and a concern for the students, our small group of educators began to teach the increasing number of students coming to the campus. In 1971, we changed our name to Valencia College and moved to our first permanent location, the 180-acre West Campus located on South Kirkman Road.

Osceola CampusFrom those humble beginnings, Valencia has become an innovative leader in higher education with a national reputation for teaching excellence. In December 2011 Valencia College won the inaugural Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. In selecting Valencia as the best community college in America, Aspen officials noted that over half of the college’s full-time students graduate or transfer within three years of entering the school, a rate significantly higher than the national average (51 percent versus 39 percent).

Valencia College operates six campuses and centers in Central Florida’s Orange and Osceola counties, offering credit and continuing education programs. The college has more than 70,000 students and more than 80,000 students have earned degrees at Valencia since its founding.

Armed with practical knowledge, Valencia's faculty and staff put their energies into a "learning-centered" philosophy that emphasizes individual student success.

President Shugart And GraduateIn an ongoing effort to be responsive to the business community, Valencia builds relationships with high schools, universities and corporate partners to strengthen academic scholarship and economic development. Valencia has hundreds of corporate education/training partnerships, including those with Florida Hospital, Lockheed Martin, NationsBank, Sea World, SmithKline/Beecham, and Universal Studios. The National Alliance of Business named Valencia "National Community College of the Year" in 1998 for its "effective and innovative leadership" in meeting the workforce needs of business and industry. The recognition is considered one of the country's most prestigious higher education awards.

Our selection in 2000 as a Vanguard Learning College is just further affirmation of the effectiveness of our student-first philosophy. It's a philosophy we've had for more than 30 years, and it continues to guide us into what we hope is an even bigger and brighter future.

For more information about Valencia College Foundation programs and contributions, please contact Geraldine Gallagher, president: 407-582-3150 or ggallagher@valenciacollege.edu