31 Jul 2021

Foothill College

In July 1956, Palo Alto Unified School District Superintendent Henry M. Gunn called a meeting of local school superintendents that led to the creation of Foothill College. Calvin Flint, then President of Monterey Peninsula College, was hired as the first District Superintendent and President; he started work on March 1, 1958.

Candidates for the new college's name, besides Foothill, were Peninsula, Junipero Serra, Mid-Peninsula, Earl Warren, Herbert Hoover, North Santa Clara, Altos, Valley, Skyline, Highland, and Intercity. At first the name was Foothill Junior College, but because Flint insisted that his new college would be “not junior to anyone", the Board dropped the “Junior" in September 1958.

Foothill held its first classes in the old Highway School campus on El Camino Real in Mountain View on September 15, 1958. It was accredited by March of the next year and was the first school in the state to ever reach full accreditation in less than six months. The owl mascot originated from a concrete owl that was a decoration on the Highway School's bell tower; it was later moved to the new campus.

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