Historical Society revives interest in SRJC archives

Faith Gates, Staff Writer

Santa Rosa Junior College first opened in 1918 using a Santa Rosa High School building, teaching only 19 students. This was not the Santa Rosa High School next to SRJC today, but a different one on Humboldt Avenue that mysteriously burned down in 1921. After that, classes were held in many different buildings until Santa Rosa High School was constructed in 1924 and classes were held there.  SRJC finally got its home in 1931 with Pioneer Hall.

The new Historical Society of SRJC aims to promote and preserve the history of the college.
SRJC student Sarahi Robledo and former SRJC student Adrienne Leihy started the club Oct. 30. Robledo, a member of the Santa Rosa Historical Society, and Leihy, who attended SRJC from 2000-2006 and was part of student government, came up with the idea.

“I’ve been interested in JC history since I started in 2000,” Leihy said. Monte Freidig is the faculty advisor.

At the club’s first meeting Oct. 25, members discussed what the group would be about. First, they want to digitize pictures that SRJC has. Archives in the second story of the library behind the circulation desk contain pictures, documents, yearbooks and even letters between World War II soldiers and SRJC presidents, but they are not open to students. The club also wants to get old yearbooks and directories that alumni students and staff tend to throw away. SRJC had yearbooks until 1969; some of these are on display on the second floor of SRJC Doyle library.

“We’ll take care of them; we’ll put them to use,” Robledo said.

Associated Students stores archives in garages on Elliot Street. “They’re just sitting there…it’s like a dumping ground,” Leihy said.

The club also wants to start fundraising, mainly for the fountain in the quad. The fountain was built in the 1940s by students and groundskeepers on their own time, and broke around 2008. Now it just sits barren in the quad, but they want to get it working again.

Another big project is the SRJC centennial, coming up in 2018. “We definitely want to be a big part of the centennial,” Robledo said. The club plans to gather pictures, documents and oral histories to make the celebration better. The members hope to set up a video at the next Day Under the Oaks for alumni to tell stories. They also want to have pictures of the old buildings in front of the new ones during the celebration.

The historical society hopes to one day have its own website with all the history it uncovers.

“We’re open to all ages,” Robledo said. Leihy continued and said, “Obviously we’re a student club, but even if they can’t be official club members, we need them and their knowledge.”

Students who want to focus on the oral history, work in the archives or volunteer to fundraise can join.

“There are just so many great stories out there about the JC,” Leihy said. The next meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 25 in 1554 Emeritus Hall.
Donations to the society can be made through SRJC Foundation and also student affairs. More information and pictures can be found on their Facebook page “Historical Society of SRJC – Santa Rosa Junior College.”