Thursday, February 1, 2018

40th Anniversary Throwback Thursday 1978-79

40th anniversary banner, featuring 40th logo, Maricopa Community Colleges logo and photo of Chancellor Paul Elsner.  Text: An innovative leader in higher education.

This weeks’ 40th Anniversary Throwback Thursday begins with a look at 1978-79.

Pictured here is Maricopa Community Colleges Chancellor Paul Elsner, who was instrumental in the creation of Rio Salado College (RSC) in 1978. He understood the potential that this innovative institution would have.

Here’s a look at other historical recognitions and achievements about the college and a couple of pop culture factoids from 1978-79.

• Rio Salado College is established by the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD), becoming one of seven “colleges without walls” in the nation
• Walter Morrison named Provost
• RSC creates the first distance learning program in the MCCCD
• Nearly 8,000 credit students register for fall, utilizing 78 classroom locations across Maricopa County
• RSC acquires KJZZ (originally known as KMCR), a regional National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate offering news and jazz
• Serves nearly 750 Adult Basic Education students

RSC First President Walter Morrison on left with RSC Executives in 1978

• RSC offers classes at Luke Air Force Base
• Launches Sun Sounds of Arizona, a statewide radio reading service for those who cannot read print due to a disability
• Receives accreditation candidacy status from North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

1978 Top Movie: Grease
1978 Top Music Hit: Shadow Dancing by Andy Gibb.

1979 Top Movie: Apocalypse Now
1979 Top Music Hit: My Sharona by Knack.

Check out other historical photos and facts on our 40th Anniversary website at and our Facebook photo album.

You can share your photos, stories and memories via email to or social media using the hashtag #RioSaladoCollege40th.