Lane Community College

By Joan Jagodnik

Lane Community College (LCC) in Eugene opened its doors in 1965, but the roots of the school reach back to the 1930s and the Eugene Vocational School (EVS). EVS was established to serve high school students and unemployed adults during the Great Depression. During World War II, it helped fill the need for skilled workers and provided training for students after the war. When adult education classes were added in 1958, the school’s name was changed to the Eugene Technical-Vocational School (ETVS). 

In the 1950s, there was a need for more local and statewide educational opportunities. In response, the 1959 Oregon Legislative Assembly provided a way to create comprehensive community colleges that would include vocational, college-transfer, and adult-education programs. Educational leaders in the Eugene area wanted to expand ETVS to serve the larger community of Lane County, and voters approved the Lane Community College Education District in 1964.

LCC’s board of directors named Dale Parnell as the college’s first president in 1965; he would serve in that capacity until 1968. Parnell had been principal of Springfield High School and superintendent of Lane Intermediate Education District. He became nationally know later in his career with his seminal book, The Neglected Majority, and as president of the American Association of Community Colleges (1981-1991).

In 1967, LCC launched its own radio station, KLCC, which eventually became a National Public Radio affiliate and expanded its service area to Florence, Newport, Cottage Grove, Oakridge, and Bend. In 1971, the station did a live broadcast of the Grateful Dead, who did a benefit concert at the college.

Since 1973, LCC has been a member of the League for Innovation in the Community College, an international organization comprised of over 900 institutions from eleven different countries. In 2000, based on its record of achievement and innovation in improving learning, the school was selected as one of twelve Vanguard Learning Colleges in North America.

A comprehensive community college, LCC is the third largest community college in Oregon, serving more than 36,000 students. The college offers over forty career and technical programs as well as courses and programs in adult and community education.

  • Young men attend class at Lane Community College, 1966.

    Oregon Historical Society Research Library, Oregon Journal Collection, 012952

  • Lane Community College, Dr. Dale P. Parnell Center for Learning and Student Success, 2018.

    Courtesy Brett Rowls, Wikimedia

Slide carouosel left Slide carousel right

Related Entries

Related Historical Records

Map This on the Oregon History WayFinder

The Oregon History Wayfinder is an interactive map that identifies significant places, people, and events in Oregon history.

Further Reading

Lane Community College. “Narrative History of Lane Community College.” Lane Community College.

Parnell, Dale. The Neglected Majority. Washington, D.C.: Community College Press, 1985.

Romine, Larry. Lane Community College: The Parnell years. Eugene, OR: Lane Community College, 1998.

Tope, Donald, and Goldhammer, Keith. A Study for the Need of a Community College in Lane County and Adjoining School Districts. Eugene, OR: University of Oregon Educational Research Center, 1963.