Coffeyville Community College History

Coffeyville Junior College Circa 1925

Pictured: Coffeyville Junior College originally occupied three rooms of the Washington High School at 10th and Willow.

Coffeyville Community College had its beginning in 1921 when enabling legislation in the Kansas Legislature created the school. Then on February 12,1923, the Board of Education voted a resolution to present a proposal to the voters to establish a junior college in Coffeyville. On April 3, the proposal passed in every precinct with a vote of 2,322 to 656. September 1923 twenty-five students with six instructors enrolled tuition free at the new Coffeyville Junior College, the seventh in Kansas, in three rooms of the Washington High School at 10th and Willow. The library had 3,500 volumes and the curriculum included 26 courses in seven departments. May 24, 1925, thirteen girls and one boy comprised the first graduation class.

In the spring of 1931, the college of 160 students was the first Kansas junior college to have its own building with 11 lecture rooms, a library and auditorium. The high school students moved into a new building, leaving the junior college students with their own building.

Coffeyville gained national recognition in 1938 and 1939 by winning its first national championship in debate. Karl Wilson, who for more than forty years had contributed to the success of the College, was debate coach. He became Dean of the College in 1942 and served until 1967.

Dr. Clifford Long, former Commissioner of the Kansas Jayhawk Junior College Conference and retired Director of Extension Services at Pittsburg State University, led the Ravens to their first athletic National Championship by winning the NJCAA Championship Bowl Game in 1956. With National Championships in track and cross country in 1960 and basketball in 1962, C.C.J.C. became known as “The Home of Champions.” In 1983, the Ravens won their second National Championship in football, finishing with an 11-1 record. They followed this up by winning another National Crown in 1990 with a perfect 11-0 record.

The present classroom building opened in 1958 with more than 500 students. In 1965, Coffeyville and Caney voters voted to join the Kansas system of junior colleges as a southern Montgomery County District and then became Coffeyville Community Junior College with an enrollment of 764 students. V.A. Klotz was the first president of C.C.J.C.

In 1967, the late Dr. Russell Graham became president with the goal of expanding the campus and receiving North Central Accreditation. In October of 1967, the voters approved the $1,800,000 bond issue for construction of a downtown college complex. It was completed in 1969 with a College Union, Learning Resource Center, Occupational Building, and Fine Arts Auditorium. March 22, 1972, C.C.J.C. received a ten-year North Central Accreditation. In July 1980, the Kansas Legislature officially dropped the “Junior” from the names of community colleges in Kansas. Thus, the school’s name was shortened to Coffeyville Community College. In 1982, CCC received a five-year North Central Accreditation.

Dr. Dan Kinney became the third president of the College in 1985. Under his direction, the dorms were increased in size to house 305 students, Nellis Hall gymnasium was built, and the Student Union was increased in size. Enrollment was also increased to almost 2000 students.

Dr. Jim Stringer was an interim president after Dr. Kinney left in August of 1994 until the new president was hired in February of 1995.

Dr. Ronald Thomas became the fourth president of the College in February 1995. He helped dedicate the new addition of Nellis Hall and the upgrading of the new football complex.

Dr. Jim Stringer again was interim president from August 1999 until June of 2000. Dr. Howard “Sam” Bass became the fifth president of the College in June of 2000. March of 2001, Dr. Bass announced the joining of Coffeyville Community College and the Southeast Kansas Area Technical School. The new name of the College is now Coffeyville Community College / Area Technical School.

Dr. Jim Stringer again was interim president for January 2004 until June of 2004. Dr. Don A. Woodburn became the sixth president of the College in August of 2004.  He helped in obtaining a ten-year accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission and was instrumental in the development of a new women’s residence hall in 2006. 

Linda Moley was named Interim President in September 2010 and was named President in July 2011. The College's accreditation was reaffirmed for another ten years by the Higher Learning Commission in 2015.  CCC received its first million dollar donation from Dr. Terry Powell in 2015. The College officially opened a new men's residence hall, Powell Hall, in September 2015.

Dr. Marlon Thornburg was named Coffeyville Community College's eighth president in July of 2020. Curtis and Janice Harshaw donated the school's second million dollar donation in 2021.  To date, CCC has received three one million dollar donations with the latest one being received in 2022 from Stephen Rench.