By Suzanne Seyfi, Staff Writer

On Tuesday, October 9, Mayor John Suthers proclaimed the week of October 7-13, 2018 as PPCC’s 50th Anniversary Celebration to Colorado Springs’ City Council.

The proclamation detailed the contributions of Pikes Peak Community College to the city of Colorado Springs, both numerically and intangibly.

Before the proclamation, Garrison Commander Colonel Brian Worthington and Command Sergeant Major Kenyatta Mack received a certificate of appreciation on behalf of Fort Carson, as presented to them by PPCC President Lance Bolton.

In 1976, Fort Carson sold some land for one dollar to the state of Colorado for educational purposes. The land became Centennial Campus for what was then El Paso Community College. This was done to assist veterans with transitioning back to civilian life. What is now Pikes Peak Community College has taken this mission very seriously; fifty-two years later, the college serves “more active military and veterans than any other college in Colorado,” according to the proclamation.

Warren Epstein, Executive Director for Marketing and Communication, reflected on the history of PPCC: “When you look at our history of fifty years for Pikes Peak Community College, originally El Paso Community College, the idea [is incredible] that we started out in a scattering of buildings on the west side that we rented, one of which was an old Safeway, and we developed the nickname ‘The Safeway U.’”

“So much of our history was about this struggle for acceptance and legitimacy and credibility, so making it fifty years and growing to be the largest higher-ed institution in southern Colorado – it’s a pretty amazing feat for where we came from as ‘Safeway U.’ And the fact that this year we launched our first Bachelor’s degree, that we’re looking at a different kind of future than people envisioned, but we stayed true to the core, which is that to feed the economy, to go where we want to go, we have to have this engine turning out trained workers and that’s what we’re doing more than ever before.”

Members of the PPCC delegation present for the proclamation reading included PPCC President Lance Bolton, former interim Vice President Taffy Mulliken, PPCC Foundation Executive Director Lisa James, PPCC Advisory Council Member Yemi Mobolade, Mr. Epstein, and PPCC student reporter Suzanne Seyfi.

After the proclamation was read, City Council was deeply interested in learning more about PPCC’s mascot: Arnie the Aardvark. Mr. Epstein related the battle over the new school mascot fifty years ago. There was a faction of students pushing for then-El Paso Community College to be taken seriously regarding intercollegiate sports. Another, larger faction wanted to graduate and get to work as soon as possible, and so they chose the most ridiculous animal they could think of: the aardvark.
The school colors are black and blue to represent what the student body thought their team might look like after a game.