1968 Highlights


The calendar year of 1968 marked steps and decisions that saw the operation of Saddleback Junior College District expand from offices in a model home complex in Mission Viejo to an attractive, functional campus.

February 14, 1968 marked the first year of the college district's existence. On July 1, 1968 the district became an effective taxing entity. It was less than three months later that the district opened its doors to its instructional program at Saddleback College.

This segment presents the accounting of the] 968 calendar year.

Administration and Operation

At the beginning of the 1968 calendar year, Jack S. Roper served as Superintendent of the district and President of the college. Before the year was to end, Fred H. Bremer, Ph.D., stepped into the top post. Dr. Bremer, who served as Dean of Instruction early in the year, was named Vice President of the college May 27. On June 24, Roper announced his decision not to accept a three year contract offered by the Board, and he returned to the County Superintendent of Schools as Deputy Superintendent, a position he held prior to coming to Saddleback College.

Dr. Bremer assumed the post of Superintendent/President on a three-year contract in August 1968.

An editorial in the July 31, 1968 publication of the Rancho Reporter, El Toro, stated:

"Congratulations to the Board of Trustees of the Saddleback Junior College District on their recent appointment of Dr. Fred H. Bremer as the new Superintendent of the college district."

Roy N. Barletta was Business Manager. Melvin E. Mitchell, former newsman and educator, was named Director of College and Community Relations, duties he assumed January 29, 1968. This post was later changed to Director of College and Community Services.

In February, M. Bud Weber assumed duties as Associate Dean of Students, but he resigned at the beginning of the Fall Quarter. John J. Flood, who had been employed as Coordinator of Counseling and Guidance, was named to replace Weber.

Flood and Howard H. Marcou, who joined the staff as Chairman of the Business Science Division, were given added duties as Assistant Deans of Extended-Day.

Other additions to the staff early in the year were Rufus L. Platt, Assistant Dean of Admissions and Records; Jack A. Swartzbaugh, Coordinator of Student Activities; and Arlene C. Moore, Librarian. Other Division Chairmen were B. George Hartman, Health, Physical Education and Athletics; Doyle G. McKinney, Ph.D., Languages and Fine Arts; James F. Thorpe, Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology; and William M. Williams, Social Science.

On September 12, Ray Chermak, who had worked with the district part­time as Staff Architect, assumed duties as Director of Planning, Buildings and Grounds.

Saddleback College opened its instructional program in the fall with 34 full-time instructors and 30 part-time instructors for the extended-day program.

There were 26 classified employees.

The Interim Campus

One of the pressing decisions was the development of facilities for instruction, which was scheduled to begin in the fall.

The Board of Trustees solicited site proposals from area landowners and developers. This was in contrast to the usual procedure to select a site and then negotiate or enter land condemnation legal proceedings.

Bids were submitted by Capistrano Highlands, Coast Realty, Marina View Heights Development Company, Mission Viejo Company, Moulton Company and Rossmoor Corporation.

Offers were presented for land in the Trabuco area, Capistrano area, Laguna Hills (Leisure World) area and Mission Viejo. Bids were submitted January 22. Firms were allowed to make presentations relative to their offers. Moulton Company presented an offer of land, but did not submit a bid. Rossmoor withdrew its bid in light of opposition from residents of Leisure World. On February 5, the Site Selection Committee, comprised of Board members Hans Vogel and Michael Collins, recommended the selection of Mission Viejo's proposal, and the Board gave its approval. Negotiations commenced for the permanent site within a 500-acre area. The Board approved leasing 15 acres at a cost of $12,000 and continued negotiations for a permanent site. In September, college officials signed escrow for 199.9 acres near, but not contiguous with the interim site for $12,500 an acre, a total of over $2.5 million.

The interim campus location was east of the San Diego Freeway near the Crown Valley Parkway interchange. The address was 26522 Crown Valley Parkway.

Cost of land development for the interim site was $120,000 and was to be refunded by Mission Viejo Company upon abandonment of the property.

Ground-breaking ceremonies were held May 24, 1968 with dignitaries and educators from throughout the county in attendance.

In addition to turning the first dirt with gilded blade shovels, a hitching post was set in the ground, ceremoniously noting the historical ranching days of the area. Officials burned the date, Mission Viejo and college brands into the post with branding irons.

The relocatable facility was comprised of 13 buildings, including J 7 classrooms, a library, student center, bookstore, staff offices, administration building, and physical education quarters. Total square footage in buildings was 36,040.

The first modules arrived July 20. In 54 working days the "miracle campus" was complete and ready for occupancy.

The new campus included an athletic field and parking space for more than 600 cars. The maturity of the turf on the athletic field was delayed, but growth was satisfactory by the end of the calendar year.

At the beginning of the year 1968, operation of the campus was still administered from offices in a model home complex in Mission Viejo.

On September 16, 1968, the administration offices were moved to the interim campus at 26522 Crown Valley Parkway. A military helicopter flight pattern was rerouted from overhead the campus by orders of Major General William Thrash at El Toro Marine Corps Air Station at this time.

Classes opened at 8 a.m., September 23, just one week from the day that moving vans transported furniture and equipment to the new interim campus in Mission Viejo. The Crown Valley Parkway overpass on the San Diego Freeway was open, allowing easy, paved access to the new campus.

Students were officially welcomed by Dr. Fred H. Bremer in a 10-minute program. During the program Mission Viejo Company offered its welcome from the community of Mission Viejo with the presentation of seven 15­foot Carob Trees.

Dedication of the campus was held at 4 p.m., October 15, with the honorable then Governor Ronald Reagan presenting the dedication address.

Following are excerpts from dedication addresses by Governor Reagan, Dr. Bremer, and Mr. Collins, as quoted in the November publication of Revista, Saddleback College's newsletter:

Governor Reagan: "To help our young people -and to build and preserve our society -it is vital that we create and maintain the very finest of educational systems."

Dr. Bremer: "The true measure of a college is that which takes place within the walls of its existing structures. As we dedicate this campus, we dedicate ourselves to the idea of a community college which will serve as an inspiration to all ..."

Mr. Collins: " ... it is the mission of our education to equip the student to penetrate the screen of sophistry before him, to acquaint him with the accumulated knowledge of a great civilization and to implant that love of learning which is the basis of all culture."

On the speakers' platform with Governor Reagan, in addition to college representatives, were U.S. Congressman James B. Utt, Assemblyman

Robert Badham, State Senator John Schmitz; Dr. Sidney Brossman, Chancellor of California Community Colleges; Dr. Herbert T. Stroschein, local member of State Community Colleges Board; Dr. Robert Peterson, Orange County Superintendent of Schools; and Clay Mitchell, President of Orange County Board of Education.

The following editorials commented on the dedication:

The Tustin News, October 17, 1968:

"Tuesday, October 15, saw our Saddleback Junior College dedicated and even Governor Ronald Reagan joined local officials in marking the occasion. This, to us, is a dream come true ever since The Tustin News first proposed publicly -years ago -that we should have our own junior college from among the high school districts now comprising Saddleback JC."

Rancho Reporter, October 23, 1968:

"It was with pride that we sat with the press, dignitaries and more than 1,000 citizens last week to witness the formal dedication of Saddleback College, with the main address given by Governor Reagan. "The whole dedication was done with dignity, good taste, and discrimination. The Governor, Board of Trustees, the Superintendent, teaching staff and students can all be proud of the occasion. It has been very exciting to write 'the dream to reality' story of Saddleback College and the Saddleback Junior College District."


The first gigantic hurdle facing the district was the need for funds to finance the acquisition of land, construction of a campus and purchase of equipment.

This had been resolved with the overwhelming approval of voters to borrow the funds through the sale of $9.5 million in general obligation bonds.

An editorial in the Costa Mesa Daily Pilot, April 11, 1968 noted, "Take a bow Mr. Voter. You have made a wise decision."

On July 1, 1968, Saddleback College became an effective taxing entity.

The budget for 1968-69 was approved at $6,076,456. Saddleback College's tax levy was 53 cents on $100 assessed valuation. The levy included 40 cents for general operation expenses and 13 cents for bond redemption and interest.

Total assessed valuation was $423,403,310. In its first year, the college was not eligible to receive tax revenue on the unsecured assessed valuation, totaling $17,567,530.

Successful bidders for the bonds were Bank of America and Security Pacific National Bank. The rate of interest on $4.5 million, sold first to Bank of America, was 4.357. The other $5 million was sold to Security Pacific in September at 4.61. The average of the two -low, compared to other district bond sales and estimations -was 4.48.

In September 1968 officials entered an agreement for purchase of 199.997 acres for a permanent campus site at $12,500 an acre, totaling $2,505,944.

In November 1968, the Board of Trustees revised its 10-year capital outlay plan of $16.5 million to a five-year plan for $14.7 million.

The $14.7 million plan, submitted to the state, as required, outlined the following:

Estimated expenses for 1968-69 included Interim Site Improvement, $266,100; Interim BuiIdings, $598,288; Interim Equipment, $573,291; Additional Interim Buildings, $500,000; Permanent Site Acquisition, $2,505,944; and Permanent Site Improvement, $500,000.

Estimated for 1969-70, all permanent facilities, Site Improvement, $500,000; Library, $353,007; Science Building, $341,148; Fine Arts Building, $324,917; and Equipment, $250,000.

Estimated for 1970-71 , Library, $896,993; Science Building, $866,852; Fine Arts Building, $825,083; Equipment, $250,000; Gym, $ 18,630; Administration Building, $12,145; Business Education Building, $11,340; Trade Technology Building, $22,190; and Equipment, $400,000. Estimated for 1971-72, Gym, $373,352; Administration Building, $243,483; Business Education Building, $227,255; Trade Technology Building, $444,767; and Equipment, $400,000.

Estimated for 1972-73, Gym, $758,018; Administration Building, $494,372; Business Education Building, $461,405; Trade Technology Building, $903,043; and Equipment, $400,000.

Estimated total cost was $ 14,721,623.

Average daily attendance (ADA) for the first quarter was 1,126. State assistance of $125 per ADA unit was to be received pending adjustment of figures of census week in February 1969.

Seat Tax and Interdistrict Agreements 

Saddleback College encountered a dilemma early in the year when other area community colleges demanded continuation of the ~o-called $300 seat tax on each student in the Saddleback district who attended their colleges.

The tax, earmarked solely for capital improvements, was in addition to additional tuition fees paid by Saddleback to districts accommodating Saddleback students.

State legislation adopted in 1965 stated that new districts (such as Saddleback) "shall not pay the $300 seat tax for the first three years." The purpose of the legislation was to help new colleges.

Orange Coast Junior College District was the leading opponent of this legislation and withheld an interdistrict agreement with Saddleback College.

Saddleback College opened in the fall with only freshman curriculum and limited vocational courses. Interdistrict agreements were necessary so that sophomore students could continue at the other colleges.

On April 29, the three-month stalemate ended when the Orange County Board of Education unanimously adopted a policy allowing students to transfer if unable to obtain the program they needed at Saddleback College.

This action opened the college doors to the students, but not without time­consuming paperwork. Students had to take notes of restriction from the college they were attending, have their applications approved by the county, and then obtain official approval of release by Saddleback.

Permanent Campus 

The location of the permanent site is described as east of the San Diego Freeway and about 300 yards south of the interim campus. The proposed Marguerite Parkway would divide the area that served as the interim campus and the permanent site. The property included an abandoned, small-aircraft landing field.

While the purchase was considered an "excellent buy," the Board approved the location from a list of criteria established the prior year in the search for the property.

Criteria included location, accessibility, availability of utilities, gross price, surrounding developments, landowners' cooperation, location and presence of easements, cost of grading and construction, and proximity of air corridors.

It was not possible to make a sound decision on the specific permanent campus location in time to complete the "miracle campus" for the 1968­69 academic year. However, the thinking of the Board during this calendar year, looking to 1969-70, was that it would be more economical to move the relocatable facilities from the interim campus and make necessary additions to the permanent campus location before the next year.


The instructional program was directed by Superintendent/President Bremer, who continued to perform the duties of the Dean of Instruction along with his new assignment.

The curriculum was approved in February 1968.

Course offerings were in anthropology, art, astronomy, biology, business, chemistry, drama, economics, engineering, English, French, geology, German, health, history, journalism, marine science, mathematics, music, philosophy, physical education, physics, political science, psychology, Russian, sociology, Spanish and speech.

Occupational programs included accounting, airline stewardess, clerk typist, drafting, technology, general business, merchandising and selling, police science, and secretarial.

While there is not an exact count of applicants for the founding faculty of 1968-69, it is clear that the methods of soliciting and interviewing for positions at that time were not as strictly defined as they later became. By 1969, Board members reported having 1,000 applications on file, and by 1970 the Los Angeles Times alluded to some 3,000 applications on file. In addition, while reports identified some 34 persons as the first full-time faculty, the first catalog identified more names that presumably included administrators. It may be that some of these persons were designated as administrators, but in several instances they may also have taught classes.

The calendar for the quarter system, instead of the semester system, was planned. Preregistration of graduating high school seniors planning to attend Saddleback College commenced in April. Division chairmen met with prospective students at the five high school districts -Foothill, Laguna Beach, Mission Viejo, San Clemente and Tustin. Preliminary applications were also made available to Marines at EI Toro Marine Corps Air Station.

In August, Saddleback College was admitted to "Correspondent" status by the Accrediting Commission for Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools.

On September 4, the college's entire teaching staff was officially on the job. On September 12, a welcome luncheon was held in Laguna Beach under the auspices of the Tustin, Laguna Beach, Capistrano Beach and San Clemente Chambers of Commerce.

On September 19, registration was underway, and classes began September 23. There were 1,536 full-time and part-time students enrolled in the day and extended-day classes -827 full-time and 709 part-time. Day classes were held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and extended-day classes from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

There were 190 classes with about 100 courses offered. Courses were all at freshman level. Sophomore courses were scheduled to be offered in 1969-70.

Classes such as College Chorus, Community Chorus, College Orchestra and the College Pep Band were offered in addition to a comprehensive program in all other divisions. The journalism publication class began publication of the college's first newspaper, the Lariat.

Approved prior to opening day, Saddleback College had adopted a dress code described by Dr. Bremer, Superintendent/President, "to encourage the development of an image worthy of pride in the student body."

In general, the dress code stipulated good grooming with specific restrictions on "unkempt" hair. Other aspects of the code included:

For Women:

Acceptable                                            Not Acceptable

Skirts, blouses, sweaters                     Shorts

Sports dresses                                     Thongs

Flats, heels, street shoes                     Bare feet

Stylish, groomed hair                           Unkempt hair

Culottes, Capris, Slacks

Tailored bermudas


For Men:

Slacks, sweaters                                   Cut-offs, shorts

Sports jackets                                       Bare feet

Suits                                                      Slippers

Tailored bermudas                                Sock shoes

Street, tennis, dress shoes                    Footwear without socks

Sandals with socks                                No shirt, Hair below eyebrows, ear, or hangs over collar

Later, students conducted several lengthy discussions and protests at Board meetings. A committee of the Board of Trustees, Alyn M. Brannon and Patrick J. Backus, met with administrators and a committee of the Student Government Association.

On December 18. the wording "unkempt" hair was changed to "unusually long or bizarre hair styles or beards."

A news-feature in the Los Angeles Times, December 1, 1968 commented:

"Saddleback College is only two months old but already it has a reputation as a no-nonsense campus. When student demands are putting campuses across the nation in the headlines, a simple issue like long hair had quickly set the tone in the Saddleback Junior College District. ... Even Stan Kenyon, 18, of Tustin, who was elected Student Body President after being a spokesman for the dress code protest, admits procedures are reflecting the will of the community .... 'We have no ambition to take over the college ... Riots and destruction of property are not the right way to go about getting change. We should go through the democratic process that is accepted by our society. ",

However, later the Los Angeles Times, February 1, 1970 questioned "if the school is striving to become the last stronghold of traditional virtue, where students know their rightful place and the administration is the supreme authority."

Saddleback adopted an educational program for high school honor students within the community college district October 28. Under the program, approved by the Board of Trustees, up to 40 high school students could enroll at Saddleback for courses to supplement their high school courses. This provided course-study for up to eight students from each of the five high schools. This program was to be implemented for the Winter Quarter.

To determine its future vocational education program, in November Saddleback College named Walter F. Brown, vocational intern, to survey the college community, its businesses and industries.

Brown was employed to coordinate the college's future programs to the true needs and desires of the college community.

In a unique program that defrayed the costs of the study for the college, he was employed in an agreement between the college and the County Superintendent of Schools. The Bureau of Industrial Education of the State Department of Education financed up to three-fourths of the salary and expenses of the program.

The college's first Faculty Association was formed in November. Physical Education Instructor William E. Otta was elected President. The Faculty Wives Association was also organized in November.

Student Activity

The formal instructional program started on the interim campus, but students made their initial appearances at the college while its offices were still at the model home complex in Mission Viejo.

There was a constant flow of students visiting the offices for information or counseling during the summer months.

Student participation started before many of the prospective first-year Saddleback College students were out of high school.

In March, when members of the college staff visited high schools to relate information about Saddleback, students were asked to vote on college colors and a sobriquet, or nickname.

In late March the votes were tallied. The first choice was Green and Gold for colors and "Chaparral" for the nickname. This conflicted with Saddleback High School, however, and the second-place choices were selected. They were Cardinal and Gold and "Gaucho." Gaucho is the Spanish word for cowboy in parts of South America. The name was submitted by student Tim Butler.

Cheerleaders, candidates from high school graduates, were selected in July, following tryouts.

A garage at the model home complex was used as an equipment room for football gear.

The first football game, of a nine-game season, was September 21, two days before classes started. On Labor Day, Coach B. George Hartman began a two-week training program for prospective players at El Toro Marine Corps Air Station. Practice continued at the "old" junior high school in San Juan Capistrano. Home games were played at Mission Viejo High School Stadium.

Opponents that season were: Cal Lutheran Frosh, Imperial Valley, Barstow, Napa Junior, Redlands, Occidental Frosh, Cal Poly Frosh, Long Beach State Frosh and Gavilan.

Coach Roy Stevens' basketball team had a 28-game schedule, including eight games before the end of the calendar year. Home games were played at Mission Viejo High School gym.

Opponents were: Mt. San Jacinto, Chapman, Cal State Fullerton Frosh, Cal Poly Pomona Frosh. U.C. San Diego Frosh and Ohlone College.

The college opened with competition scheduled in four major sports, which were football, basketball, baseball and track.

In June, the Saddleback College Bench Club, comprised of male sport boosters in the college community, was organized. In July, the club sponsored a golf tournament to raise funds for future events, such as award banquets.

The Student Government organization was initiated at the beginning of the first quarter with elections held at the end of September.

Scholarships, Gifts, and Awards

A credit to the efforts of the Scholarship Commission -comprised of citizens, student representation, and staff educators -scholarships and short-term loans were available to students.

By the end of the year, scholarships included:

El Toro Women's Club                                                                       $50

Laguna Hills-Leisure World Ebell Club                                              $350

Laguna Hills Lions Club                                                                    $50

Mission Pipe & Supply Company (Mr. Lyle Baker)                           $25

San Clemente Optimist Club                                                             $50

Toro Disposal Company                                                                    $50

Loans included: Laguna Hills Kiwanis Club                                      $500

Leisure World-Laguna Hills Women 's Club                                     $100


Saddleback College Merit Awards for Outstanding Citizenship were presented to seven residents of the college community. Cited for their efforts as members of the former Saddleback College Bond

Committee and for acceptance to participate on the newly formed Saddleback College Scholarship Commission were: Mrs. Edward E. Berry of Mission Viejo, Harcourt G. Bull of San Clemente, Mrs. Michael T. Collins of Laguna Hills, Leonard Geesen of Laguna Hills, Robert B. Moore of Laguna Beach, Arthur (Bud) Scheele Jr. of San Clemente, and William A. Toth of Tustin .

Achievement certificates were presented to the General Advisory Committee upon completion of the charter group's efforts.

Certificates of Appreciation were presented to the many contributors.

Contributors and gifts were:

Mrs. Elizabeth Forster                                         historic early-California artifacts

Mrs. Geraldine Hunie                                          first United States of America flag

Mr. Otto Kramer                                                  historic early-California artifacts

Mr. Francis Laird                                                 drafting equipment for temporary use in classrooms

Mission Viejo Company                                      seven Carob Trees

Mr. and Mrs. Clay Mitchell                                  historic California ranch bell

Senator John G. Schmitz                                    state flag

Mr. Gilbert Shadwick                                          drafting equipment for temporary use in classrooms


Scholarships were presented at the beginning of the first quarter to five students.

Tim Butler received a scholarship for selecting the nickname, Gauchos. Scholarships were presented to four students as winners of an essay entitled "Why I Wish to Attend Saddleback College." They were Mrs. Jane Thompson Harris, Susan Varian, Mark Wickham, and Diane de Ford.

Summary of 1968

The year of 1968 was a year of astounding strides and accomplishments at Saddleback College. There was so much activity and so many accomplishments that it is difficult to determine the most significant or most memorable one.

Was it the naming of Dr. Fred H. Bremer as Superintendent/President?

Was it the selection of the properties for the interim and permanent campuses?

Was it the approval of the bond proposal?

Was it the construction of the "miracle campus" in 54 working days?

Was it the dedication of the interim facility by then Governor Ronald Reagan on October 15, 1968?

Was it the appearance of the faculty on campus?

The enrollment of the first student?

The year was exciting and challenging. Each moment there was a success and with each success a thrill. The college staff watched the golden fields give way to attractive buildings. Completion of each project during the year was only the step to another.

What moment is the most cherished? Perhaps all of them, and perhaps the accomplishments had more meaning than the purchase of land or the completion of a building.

Perhaps Governor Reagan supplied the answer in his dedicatory address, witnessed by more than 1,000 people from the college community. He commented:

"We are here today to dedicate something more than just another college; we are here to dedicate an institution of opportunity and fulfillment. It is the function of education to help each individual grow to the maximum extent of his capabilities, to help him fulfill his great potential-and it is our job as responsible citizens to provide that opportunity. That this community has decided to move ahead in providing this opportunity is an action which I commend -and an action which will provide great rewards for the community."