Feather River College spent the last year celebrating its 50th anniversary. FRC President Kevin Trutna was before the Plumas County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, July 16, recapping the events.
“We didn’t have a mascot. We didn’t have anything,” Trutna said about the college’s infancy.
Its earliest years weren’t spent at its present location, but at the Plumas-Sierra County Fairgrounds. While classes began in 1968, nine students graduated in 1970. The graduation count had increased to 57 the following year, according to Trutna.
In his presentation, Trutna touched on collaboration with the community. For instance, the climbing wall at FRC is open to everyone.
And Trutna discussed the college’s continuing challenges. Housing was and is a continuing problem. Although the former nursing home was purchased by FRC and converted to student housing and a former apartment building is now available, there is still a housing shortage.
A highlight has been FRC’s approval to offer a four-year bachelors program in Equine and Ranch Management. This fall, KVIE is visiting the campus as it produces a special on California’s community colleges that now offer a bachelor’s degree.
As one of the smallest community colleges in the state, Trutna said that FRC now has 25 full-time instructors and 80 part-time instructors.
On the student side, Trutna said that FRC has six teams with the highest grade point averages in the state. The volleyball team has the highest GPA, followed by baseball and soccer. He added that FRC has been voted the number one small college in the state.
“It’s one of the best things that’s ever happened to our county,” said Supervisor Lori Simpson, who earned her associate’s degree there. And many of the original faculty members chose to make their homes in the area following retirement.
Supervisor Michael Sanchez said he started college when he left the Navy in 1977. Although it wasn’t at FRC, his wife was especially delighted when he decided that attending a community college first made financial sense.
Trutna said that it makes sense to the county for FRC to be located here. This year the college’s budget is $16 million, plus contingency funding.