The Big 5-0 for Pima

A much-earlier version of today’s Aztec Press was called the Aztec News. Here is the masthead from the News’ front page from Nov. 1, 1978.



Happy 50th anniversary, Pima Community College!

“If people go into public service to be recognized, they will always be disappointed,” said Jacob C. Fruchthendler, one of Pima’s founders, in 1987. “The greatest things you can get are personal pleasure and satisfaction.”

It’s the Aztec Press’ pleasure to present our opinion of “The 50 Greatest Things About Pima” as a running feature this semester. Each of the first five issues this semester will feature 10 things that make Pima special.

1. The Aztec Press 

You’re probably wondering, “What kind of self-important pricks would put themselves at the top of their list of 50 greatest things about PCC?” 

Allow me to reintroduce you to the Aztec Press. Founded in 1973 under the name Campus News, the Aztec Press is Pima Community College’s longest-running newspaper. 

To be fair, it’s the college’s only newspaper, but 46 years isn’t anything to scoff at. Operating under several names (including Aztec Campus News, Aztec News, Aztec and its current title), and featuring headlines such as “Taxpayer gets final bill in any nuclear holocaust,” “Clocks show no remorse” and “Nixon should resign, be impeached, or get lost” (the ’70s was a wild time, mind you), the Press stands as a beacon for free-thinking journalism. And while we no longer run ads for 10-cent beer night at Granfallon Saloon or the latest screening of “Deepthroat” at the Empress Theater, the Press continues the hard-working, muck-raking spirit of the newspaper’s past by reporting on issues that directly affect students, as well as profiling interesting figures from around the college.

And they say print is dead. 

2. One of the top 150 Community Colleges by the Aspen Institute 

In October 2017, Pima was named one of the top 150 community colleges in the nation by the Aspen Institute, qualifying it for the $1 million Aspen Prize. 

The Aspen Prize “recognizes institutions with outstanding achievements in four areas: learning; certificate and degree completion; employment and earnings; and high levels of access and success for minority and low-income students.”

The Institute is a nonprofit educational and policy studies organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. The institute takes its name from the town of Aspen, Colorado. According to the institute founder and Chicago businessman Walter Paepcke, he was inspired to host a conference in Aspen dedicated to the exchange of ideas.

“Being among the nation’s top 150 community college is a recognition of the hard work of Pima Community College’s faculty and staff and the support of our Board and community,” said Pima Chancellor Lee Lambert in a press release.

Pima was selected from a pool of about 1,000 two-year community colleges.

3. International Department

Located at West Campus near the information center, Pima’s Center for International Education and Global Engagement provides important programs for the college’s 230 international students, as well as its domestic students.

“One of the misconceptions folks have about our office is that we don’t just work with international students,” said Daisy Rodriguez Pitel, the associate director for Global Engagement and Student Services. “We also work with domestic students because we believe it’s important for there to be integration of domestic and international students.”

The Conversation Program is an opportunity for international and ESL students to practice their speaking skills with Pima staff and students. Global PEERS is a program where Pima students serve as mentors to international students. 

Meanwhile, Tea Time is another program that encourages dialogue between international and domestic students where students converse about a different topic each month. Last month, students shared their perspectives on the election processes in multiple countries, including South Korea, Mexico and the United States. And yes, tea is provided.

The center also partners with global institutions for Pima’s study abroad programs. In the program’s three years of existence, the program has reached eight different countries, including four cities in Mexico. 

4. Pima College was founded in 1969.


Photo illustration by Parker Brock/ AZTEC PRESS

5. Free condoms and lube at the Student Life Offices. 

About 100 condoms are given out monthly to students. Lube is inconsistent due to the low number of requests, but there are always condoms in stock at every Pima campus. Various varieties include classic, flavors, tattooed and glow in the dark.

6. Pima TV

PCCTV has been around for over 20 years. It originally started in the Downtown Campus in the Roosevelt Building. PCCTV started doing distance learning classes with tele-courses and taped programs from different entities. PCCTV has begun to branch out to pod/vodcasting. PCCTV also engages with groups such as theater and nursing with informational podcasts. 

7. Smoke-free campus 

Pima has a district-wide smoke-free – and vape-free – designation to promote healthier lifestyles and cleaner communities. 

8. Dat air conditioning

West Campus has one central plant with two 900-hundred ton chillers, and one 250-ton chiller. Pima has a cooling tower and boilers to keep temperatures consistent. The standard temperature is 74 degrees, plus or minus 2 degrees.

9. Foreign language classes

Pima offers second-language courses for eight languages: Arabic, American Sign Language, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean and Spanish. Additionally, the college offers associate transfer degrees in ASL and Interpreter Studies and Translation and Interpreter Studies, as well as a Certificate in Translation and Interpreter Studies that can be used for direct employment after it is earned. Students also can take courses in said languages to transfer to a four-year institution and earn degrees in the languages. Learning another language can help students get a better job once leaving Pima. 

According to Lisa Chau, an entrepreneur who has taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and contributed articles for USA Today, “Those who speak more than one language have a greater chance of succeeding in business.”

10. 3D printing

3D printed alien at the West Campus.

Pima is one of the only community colleges in Arizona that has a 3D printer. If you are new to Pima, you also are given $1  for printing.