Cochise College Santa Cruz Center has had a strong presence in our county since 2003. The college has 48 part-time instructors, 4 full-time instructors, with a total of 7 full-time staff members and 5 part-time staff members. “A wonderful aspect of our college is how we emphasize the word “community,” is the service we provide to everyone who walks in our doors. The faculty and staff go above and beyond to be the “one-stop shop” for our students (former/current/future) so that they can feel that they are in their “home away from home.” Other institutions have different departments that take care of the overall educational experience (i.e. financial aid, registration, advising, etc…), but we do it all here. Rather than telling the students to go to another department or call a certain number, we became the subject-matter-experts so that our students can know that we genuinely care about their success and are not just a number in the system,” said Gabriel Galindo Cochise College Center Director.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Community colleges are centers of educational opportunity. They are an American invention that put publicly funded higher education at close-to-home facilities. Community colleges have been all-encompassing institutions that welcome all who wish to learn, regardless of wealth, heritage, or previous academic experience. “At the Santa Cruz Center, we pride ourselves by emphasizing the word “community” in community college,” said Gabriel Galindo Cochise College Center Director.
For approximately the past 30+ years, Santa Cruz County has had a strong presence in the world of higher education. “I am very proud to say that my late father and my hero, Gonzalo “Lito” Galindo, was one of the individuals who pioneered the effort of bringing higher education to Santa Cruz County. His dream continues to live through the Santa Cruz Center,” said Gabriel Galindo Cochise College Center Director. In 2003, the Santa Cruz Center opened their doors in a small building located downtown on Madison St. The building was functional at the time with a few classrooms, offices, and a vision of providing higher education to our community. As popularity grew, the Santa Cruz Center courses spread out into the classrooms of our local high schools for night classes.
In 2007, the Santa Cruz Center had the privilege of moving into the historic courthouse in the Nogales downtown area. That building was a bit larger and the Santa Cruz Center was able to provide educational opportunities to more people in our community. Local high schools and middle schools were still used to house many of the night classes. This is when the vision of the Santa Cruz County Provisional Community College District came into play as they looked at where we were so that we can take a giant step towards where we want to be. Via the foresight of the members of the SCCPCCD board, what we once thought of as a dream became a reality because everything is possible when the drive and desire to succeed is there. “El querer es poder” comes to mind, and in August 2013, 2021 N. Grand Ave. opened up its doors in order for Santa Cruz County to invest in themselves via education. Our place was a work in progress, but we were excited to the catalyst for economic development and prosperity in our bi-national community.
“Our customers is anyone wanting to improve their life by investing their in education. We follow the overall mission of the community college system. The community college’s mission is the fountain from which all of its activities flow,” said Gabriel Galindo Cochise College Center Director. We provide an open door for those who want a post-secondary education. In this case, our mission was to improve the lifestyle of Santa Cruz County citizens via an investment in education. Most community college missions have basic commitments… to serve all segments of society through an open-access admissions policy that offers equal and fair treatment to all students, a comprehensive educational program, serve its community as a community-based institution of higher education, teaching, and lifelong learning.
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care…” Santa Cruz County, thank you very much for showing us that you care. We did everything to show everyone how much we know so that we could develop, improve, expand, and upgrade the lives of our community. There is no better investment that one can make than by empowering oneself via education. An investment in education pays the best interest and not even the most generous bank account has a better return on investment. We live in a very proud and honorable community. While the word community means different things to different people, most can agree that Santa Cruz County is unique and quite special. Our educational community has a distinct history and background and we have always been a mission-driven community. One of my main objectives as the Santa Cruz Center Director is to empower the people of Santa Cruz County via education so that they can leave behind the job search and say hello to a life where they enjoy their career. The goal of education is not to increase the amount of knowledge but to create the possibilities for a child to invent and discover, to create men who are capable of doing new things. Santa Cruz County, we are capable, talented, skilled, and gifted. Never give up on the dream of living a better life because every great dream begins with a dreamer. Within all of us, we have the passion, the power, and the patience to reach for the stars to change the world.