Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake begins classes on September 12, 1962.

  • By Jim Kershner
  • Posted 11/02/2007
  • Essay 8354
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On September 12, 1962, a new two-year community college in Moses Lake opens for classes. Because a campus does not yet exist, classes are held in the evenings at Moses Lake High School.

The newly formed Big Bend Community College had only 300 students when it opened. The school had been authorized by the state in 1961, and its first president, Dr. Alfred M. Phillips, had been on the job since early 1962. A 144-acre campus has been designated, but was still in the early stages of construction when classes started in fall of 1962.

Phillips said that he had four main goals for the fledgling school: That its academic credits would be full transferable; that it include some vocational and technical training; that it would include extensive adult education classes; and that its students and staff would be committed to community service. The college opened its new campus in September 1963 with an enrollment around 700. Big Bend Community College later acquired a new campus at the former Larson Air Force Base after its closure in 1966.

By 1975, it had moved its entire operation to the new campus. In 2007 Big Bend Community College had an enrollment of about 2,000 students. The president is Dr. Bill Bonaudi.

Sources: Vera Pfaff, “Challenging Job Lies Ahead for New School’s President,” Spokane Daily Chronicle, February 27, 1962; “New College to Open,” Spokane Spokesman-Review, September 12, 1962; “College in Basin May Enroll 700,” Spokane Daily Chronicle, Aug. 21, 1963; “About Big Bend,” Big Bend Community College website accessed October 26, 2007 (

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