El Camino College Compton Center

El Camino College
Compton Center
Established 1927

A Center of a

Public Community College
Undergraduates 6,780
Location Compton, CA, USA
Nickname Tartars
Website www.compton.edu

El Camino College Compton Center (originally Compton College) operates as a "center" of El Camino College. Under an agreement with El Camino College, Compton Center is open and offers accredited El Camino College courses to residents of Compton, Carson, Lynwood, Paramount and parts of North Long Beach. Compton Center is located in Compton, California; El Camino College is in Torrance, California.



Compton Community College was established in 1927 as a component of the Compton Union High School District. In 1933 the campus was devastated by a major earthquake which struck the region, leaving two buildings standing. Fortunately, no one on campus was killed.

In the 1940s several thousand Compton College students entered the armed forces and during World War II the campus housed a military unit and a defense plant.

In 1950 voters approved a bond issue separating the college from the high school district. The new college campus was then constructed at the college's present site, 1111 East Artesia Boulevard. Classes began on the new campus in the Fall of 1953.

In the 1960s the composition of the student body changed dramatically from predominantly Caucasian to overwhelmingly African-American.

In 1970 the Board of Trustees appointed the institution's first African-American President/Superintendent, Dr. Abel B. Sykes, Jr. Highlights during his 14-year administration included the construction of the first two new campus buildings since 1952: the Jane Astredo Allied Health Building and the Abel B. Sykes, Jr. Child Development Center (named after him in 1995).

The 1980s was a period of reduced funding and partial retrenchment for the institution, but by the early 1990s the college had once again stabilized. The second major demographic shift occurred in the 1990s making the campus population 50% African-American and 50% Hispanic.

In 1996 the Board appointed Ulis C. Williams as Interim President/Superintendent and in January, 1997 made this appointment permanent. During President Williams' tenure the district has received full re-accreditation, the Ralph C. Dills Vocational-Technology Center and the Math-Sciences building were constructed, and student enrollment approached 10,000.


In May of 2004, the State Chancellor's Office issued an Executive Order 2004-01, and installed Arthur Tyler, Jr. as Special Trustee to assist the Compton Community College District toward achieving fiscal stability and integrity. Subsequently, in August, the State Chancellor issued another Executive Order (2004-02) authorizing the continuing authority of the Special Trustee to manage the College, and to suspend, for up to one year, the powers of the governing board of the College, or of any members of that board, and to exercise any powers or responsibilities or to take any official action with respect to the management of the College. Interim President/Superintendent, Dr. Rita Cepeda was hired in February, 2005 to assist with the recovery of the College.

In June, 2005, the Executive Director of ACCJC, Dr. Barbara Beno informed the College of the Commission's decision to terminate the College's accreditation. In July, 2005, the State Chancellor assigned Dr. Jamillah Moore, Senior Vice Chancellor of the California Community Colleges system as the interim President/Superintendent and Dr. Charles Ratliff as the Special Trustee with the impending departure of both Dr. Cepeda and Mr. Tyler. The College began its appeal to the Commission regarding the termination decision.

On March 1, 2006, a third Special Trustee, Mr. Thomas Henry, was assigned to the College District to continue with the implementation of AB 61 and the development of AB 318 to keep the doors open for students. On June 30, 2006, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed AB 318 (D-Dymally) into law giving the College District $30 million loan for recovery and the opportunity to partner with a college of good standing to offer accredited courses. The bill also gave the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT) the responsibilities to conduct a comprehensive assessment and to develop a recovery plan for the College to regain its accreditation.

On August 22, 2006, at the Board of Trustees meeting, the Special Trustee approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with El Camino College District to solidify the partnerships between the two districts. Under this MOU, the campus became a center of El Camino College. The Office of the President/Superintendent was replaced by the Office of Provost/Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The center is officially established as the Compton Community Educational Center. At midnight, Compton Community College lost its accreditation.

On August 23, 2006, the Compton Community Educational Center officially became part of El Camino College with Dr. Doris P. Givens serving as the Provost/CEO. Dr. Lawrence M. Cox became Provost/CEO from 2008 to 2010.

The overall goal of the plan is to assist the Compton campus with recovery and full accreditation as a two-year public college within the next eight to 10 years.


  • Dr. O. Scott Thompson, 1927 - 1950
  • Dr. Stuart McComb, 1951 - 1952
  • Paul Martin, 1954 - 1959
  • Dr. Phil Putnam, 1960 - 1962
  • Foster Davidoff, 1963 - 1968
  • Robert McKinney, 1968 - 1969
  • Dr. Abel B. Sykes, Jr., 1970 - 1984
  • Dr. Edison O. Jackson, 1985 - 1989
  • Dr. Warren A. Washington, 1989 - 1993
  • Dr. Byron Skinner, 1993 - 1996
  • Ulis C. Williams, 1996 - 2005
  • Dr. Rita Cepeda, acting, 2005
  • Dr. Jhamillah Moore, acting, 2005 - 2006


  • Dr. Doris Pichon Givens, interim, 2007 - 2008
  • Dr. Lawrence M. Cox, 2008-2010, Provost/CEO
  • Dr. Keith Curry, 2010- current, CEO

Notable alumni


Coordinates: 33°52′39″N 118°12′39″W / 33.8775°N 118.21083°W / 33.8775; -118.21083

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