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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

SJVC Celebrates 45th Anniversary

October 27, 2022


San Joaquin Valley College celebrated its 45th anniversary on Oct. 7th at the SJVC Visalia campus with several guest speakers, campus tours and additional activities for guests to celebrate SJVC’s 45 years of serving local communities. Guest speakers included Congressman Jim Costa and Congresswoman Connie Conway, along with certificate presentations from Visalia Mayor Steven Nelsen and a representative for Tulare County Supervisor, Amy Shuklian. Alumni awards were also presented to Terri Martinez (1977) and Adrienne Burnett (2020).


“This historic milestone marks nearly half a century of providing students with a pathway for success, and we are excited to celebrate with the greater community as we continue to find new ways to enrich the lives of all those we serve,” said President of SJVC, Nick Gomez. “While we reflect upon our history and look toward the future, I am confident we will continue to grow, adapt, and excel at helping our students reach their fullest potential.”


In 1977, Shirley and Bob Perry founded SJVC to meet a need they experienced firsthand—a need for local, high-quality career training. Shirley always wanted to work in healthcare, but without easy access to a formal education, she had to teach herself medical assisting while raising her two sons.


After passing the certification exam, Shirley wanted to find a better option for people in similar situations, so Bob quit his job and the couple began making their vision a reality. Soon after, SJVC opened its doors in Visalia, Calif. with only three students as part of Shirley’s first medical assisting class.


Today, SJVC serves thousands of students on 17 campuses across California and online. Since 1977 SJVC has served as a model of educational excellence while delivering economic and social value throughout the state. SJVC now offers more than 20 programs in the medical, business, and industrial trade fields, and some notable highlights include:


  • As of 2021, SJVC has awarded more than 72,000 certificates and degrees preparing professionally trained graduates for jobs in the healthcare and industrial trade fields.


  • Between 2018-2020, SJVC helped educate more than 3,500 graduates per year, providing thousands of qualified job candidates to local employers throughout California.


  • In 2019, SJVC was the largest educator of licensed Respiratory Therapists in the state of California. An estimated 1 in 4 of all Respiratory Therapy graduates in 2019 were from SJVC in the state of California[1].


  • Several SJVC Respiratory Therapy programs earned the Distinguished RRT Credentialing Success Award from the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC)[2] including SJVC Rancho Cordova (2015–2021), SJVC Bakersfield (2016, 2017, 2020, 2021), SJVC Temecula (2017–2021) and SJVC Ontario (2017–2019).


  • The Dental Hygiene programs at SJVC have provided complimentary dental services for years, serving more than 20,000 patients since 1998 and totaling more than $7,000,000 in complimentary services to underserved communities[3].


The communities served by SJVC benefit from its focus on outcome-based learning. Faculty, administrators and staff are committed to helping students develop specific vocational knowledge and skills, as well as achieving the core student learning outcomes in information management, technical literacy and professional development. SJVC is committed to student achievement with a skills-based approach to education, and with a focus on career services and academic performance, graduates are highly qualified and motivated to enter the workforce.


To learn more about the event, please read The Sun-Gazette article “Local college marks 45th year of service.”


Learn more about the story of Shirley and Bob Perry and the programs at SJVC.


SJVC celebrates 45 years


Visit for important information on program outcomes.


[1] Based on Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) completions data

[2] Source:

[3] Based on the ADA’s 2020 National Dental Expenditures $430 per capita

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