You are here

History, Vision and Mission

50 Years of Momentum

In 1965, a burgeoning city welcomed the first community college in the West Valley, and the second in the newly formed Maricopa Community College District.  Housed in temporary facilities at the Camelback and Maryland extensions of Phoenix College, 1,974 students enrolled in liberal arts classes at the new Glendale Community College.

By September the following year, the college had moved to a permanent, 147-acre campus, accentuated with 226 majestic palm trees that lined the central mall. The palm tree, along with the Spanish-influenced architecture of the original campus buildings, are two GCC icons represented in the official logo.

The Northwest Valley population exploded during the 1980s and 1990s and with it, the need for affordable higher education. In 2000, the GCC North campus opened at 57th Avenue and Happy Valley Road. A 2004 bond election provided capital funds for expansion and renovation to main campus facilities. The most recent additions, the Public Safety Science and Life Sciences buildings, incorporate innovative, hands-on teaching facilities, collaborative environments and LEED-certified design. Additional class locations were added at NAU’s North Valley campus, Valley Vista High School and the Communiversity in Surprise.    

Keeping pace with rapid population growth in the West Valley, GCC expanded community business development efforts. The main campus is home to the Chrysler Employee Training Center and the Arizona Procurement Technical Assistance Center, partnerships that contribute to the economic vitality of Glendale and Maricopa County.

With this driving momentum, Glendale Community College stands at the threshold of its next 50 years. With a focus on sustainability, strategic growth and advancing technology, GCC will continue its commitment to student success, build on a reputation of quality education and strive to inspire excellence in all who attend.

GCC Vision

Glendale Community College fosters student success by providing innovative, quality learning experiences for all members of the community.

GCC Mission

Glendale Community College prepares students for further higher education, employment and advancement, and successful participation in a global society.

The Gaucho Mascot

GCC GauchoThe GCC mascot - the "gaucho" - is well-known, even if the origin of this symbol is lost in the college's early history. Perhaps the campus setting in the west valley conjured up images of cowboys in the old southwest. For the sake of alliteration the cowboy of legend took the name of his South American counterpart—the gaucho of the pampas of Argentina. Thus was born the "Glendale Gaucho," proud name of championship teams and generations of alumni.

The International Students Program donated a complete gaucho costume to the College, complete with the clothing and accessories that real gauchos wear and carry on the vast ranches in Argentina. The costume was purchased from a store in Buenos Aires.

The gaucho sombrero, smaller than a cowboy hat, is usually black and is sometimes worn with the brim turned up against the windy conditions on the prairies or pampas, as they are known in Argentina. To ward off the chill, gauchos wear a woolen poncho woven into beautiful patterns that designate their origin. By happy chance, there is an area of northwest Argentina known as Salta where the preferred poncho colors are red and black—the same as GCC's official school colors.

The baggy pants that tuck into the gaucho's black boots are known as bombacha. A large leather belt (rebenque) with a silver buckle (centro de rastra) and a red and black waistband (faja) complete the outfit. Most gauchos also wear a plain white shirt, sometimes with a bandana or scarf tied around their neck.

Like their American cowboy counterparts, gauchos spend a lot of time on horseback, so they almost always carry a "quirt," which is a short riding crop (tirador de carpincho) tucked into their belt. They also have a fancy-handled knife (facon) and a set of bolas (boleadoras)—the unique three-stranded leather straps with a stone weight at each end. The bola serves the gaucho in the same way that the lariat is used by a cowboy. They twirl it around their head to create momentum and then release it while aiming at the legs of a running animal. The weights cause the leather straps to wrap around the legs of the animal (usually a cow or an ostrich) so that it can be brought down and branded.

After a hard day in the saddle, gauchos relax around the campfire sipping their favorite drink: maté, a green herbal tea that less enthusiastic individuals say tastes like it was made from grass clippings. The way Argentines drink it is unique, however, and so the accessories of the Glendale Gaucho include a small round bowl (maté) made from a gourd, in which the tea (also known as maté) is mixed with hot water and then sipped through a thin metal straw (bombilla) with a strainer on the end to filter out the tea leaves. It's not everyone's cup of tea but it's practically a national pastime in Argentina. Some people there drink it sweetened with sugar, but that's not considered macho by real gauchos.

Vivan Los Gauchos!


Students walk through the central mall at GCC Main campus in this 1967 photo.

Student stroll through central mall at main campus.








GCC Gaucho Logo