Overview and History

Citrus College is located in Glendora, California, near the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, and approximately 25 miles northeast of metropolitan Los Angeles. The college has the distinction of being the oldest community college in Los Angeles County and the fifth oldest in California.

This public community college serves the residents and the students of the Azusa, Claremont, Duarte, Glendora and Monrovia school districts.

With a class of 27 students, Citrus College was founded in 1915 under the leadership of Dr. Floyd S. Hayden, who helped bring the community college movement to California.

Citrus College’s first graduating class in 1917 boasted four graduates. While enrollment had nearly quadrupled to 100 students by 1925, only 11 students graduated from the college in its first decade.

From 1915 to 1961, the College was operated by the Citrus Union High School District. Between 1946 and 1959, the College purchased 88 acres of land to expand the campus from 16 acres to the 104 acres it occupies today. In July 1961, the Citrus Junior College District was created to include the Azusa and Glendora unified school districts. In 1967, the district expanded to include the Claremont, Duarte and Monrovia school districts. In 1970, the district was renamed the Citrus Community College District to better represent the college’s mission.

By 1975, enrollment had grown to more than 11,000, with nearly 700 degrees conferred that year. The College also maintained its reputation as having one of the best transfer records in the state.  Ambitious building and expansion projects in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1990s led to new buildings and many renovations of the campus facilities. These projects enhanced the learning environment, increased access for the disabled, improved safety, and added technological capabilities to classrooms. The addition of the adapted physical education facility and the computer lab greatly improved the College’s educational resources.

Since 2004, the College has undergone a major facilities expansion project that is changing the look of the campus and providing facilities that will enhance learning.

The ethnic composition of the student body has gradually become more diverse over time, and today the student population is 63 percent Hispanic.  This demographic composition has earned Citrus College a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) designation, which is defined by the U.S. Department of Education as a college or university whose Hispanic students comprise 25 percent or more of the total student body.

The HSI designation has allowed Citrus College to receive several Department of Education grants to assist Hispanic and other students who can benefit from enhanced services and programs. 

Citrus College has received accolades and honors for the quality of its academic programs and the effectiveness of its student services.  The Veterans Success Center garnered national attention for Citrus College as the first college in the nation to offer a transitional counseling class for student veterans.  In 2010, Citrus College became one of four California community colleges featured in a video presented at the White House Summit on Community Colleges.  In 2010, Citrus College was awarded a Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success (CEVSS) grant by the Department of Education. 

In response to a White House mandate challenging the nation’s colleges and universities to increase their graduation rates by 2020, Citrus College launched its College of Completion initiative in 2012.  College of Completion encourages and supports Citrus College students as they endeavor to earn an associate degree, transfer to four-year colleges and universities, and enter the career fields of their choice.  The college community offers a variety of academic programs and student services that facilitate student achievement and, ultimately, degree completion.

Over the years, Citrus College has garnered accolades at the national, state, and local levels. Out of more than 1,100 community colleges in the United States, Citrus College has been recognized as a national leader by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). The college's sustained commitment to student achievement earned the AACC's 2019 Award of Excellence in the Student Success category. The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education has included the College in its annual ranking of the top 50 community colleges in the nation for nearly a decade. In addition, the College has been named a Military Friendly School® by G.I. Jobs magazine every year since 2011.

Today, Citrus College grants associate degrees in 69 fields of study, including 31 associate degrees for transfer.  The College offers a total of 102 certificates of achievement, certificates of competency and skill awards in 55 academic and career/technical areas. The College boasts an active student government, numerous social clubs and events, student organizations, and college-wide activities. Citrus College offers many free student-support services, including personal and academic counseling, transfer information and assistance, academic tutoring, veteran’s support, and career planning. Through its Community and Noncredit Education Division, the College provides courses that encourage learning at every stage of life. 

The College currently serves about 19,600 students.