COM Timeline


  1. 1967

    On September 14, 1967, College of the Mainland open its doors to 414 students at the Booker T. Washington campus in Texas City, TX. In a collection of 14 classrooms, approximately 94 courses were offered. A realization of a 32-year dream.

  2. 1968

    COM launches the Comets, COM’s basketball team, with Ron Ummel as coach.

    COM Foundation is established as an independent nonprofit by a volunteer board of directors to assist friends of COM in supporting students.

    More than 400 prospective students register; classes begin at Booker T. Washington School in Texas City.

  3. 1969

    The Union Carbide operator apprenticeship program begins.

    Enrollment reaches 1,500 at Booker T. Washington School in Texas City.

    A beginner milliner course is offered.

    The Comet newspaper is begun.

    Enrollment reaches 1,812 students – 914 in credit courses, 659 in noncredit courses, plus 239 in apprenticeship training programs.


  1. 1970

    Classes begin on the new main campus.

    One year after Apollo 11 astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin walked on the moon, COM students hear a lecture by space biology expert Walter Ellis, who works at the NASA Lunar Receiving Lab.

    The Mainland Chorale, comprised of 40 community members, presents Handel’s Messiah in its first public concert.

    COM hosts three Soviet journalists as part of a citizens exchange program.

  2. 1972

    A portable telescope to let students photograph Saturn’s rings and other equipment is purchased through a $20,000 grant for electronic audiovisual equipment.

  3. 1973

    COM forms the Ecology Club and establishes a recycling program for newspapers and aluminum.

  4. 1974

    COM is the first community college in Texas to offer a six-week, pre-summer session.

  5. 1975

    Calling all aspiring playwrights! COM and COM Foundation host a statewide playwriting contest commemorating the American Revolutionary Bicentennial.

  6. 1976

    COM opens the Danforth facility.

    Students bring masks, fins, and snorkels to a PE scuba diving class.

    “Learning Wheels,” a group of senior citizens, meets each Friday and travels to off-campus historic and educational sites.

  7. 1977

    Balancing a checkbook, completing income tax returns, and 60 other life skills are taught in a course by COM and Hitchcock High School.

    More than 700 have received CLEP credit at the COM Testing Center in the past five years.

    A radio course prepares students for the federal exam for an Amateur Novice Class license.

  8. 1978

    A snow skiing class is held with a trainer at the indoor Ski Houston.

    Gloria Diaz, a teacher in the Adult Basic Education Program, is named an Outstanding Young Woman of America.

    COM facilitates a program for single adults.

  9. 1979

    The Word Processing Center expands to become a model for the area.


  1. 1980

    A workshop on computers explains them to those looking to purchase one.

    Thomas F. Carter, English instructor, is named in third edition of Who’s Who Among Black Americans 1980-81. He is one of the first African-Americans to serve as city commissioner for Texas City.

  2. 1981

    Administrator Bill Raley visits the Middle East as part of a seven-member team to evaluate the Abu Dhabi PTEC program that COM helped to develop.

    A tuition-free introduction to fine arts course featuring nationally known performing artists is offered at district high schools.

    A disaster simulation is held at COM with 17 agencies participating. Galveston County Memorial Hospital uses its helicopter and heliport in a drill for the first time.

    The Women’s Center has served more than 3,000 women with financial aid assistance and referrals to nonprofits since launching three years ago.

  3. 1982

    Dr. Dorothy McNutt, business division chair, speaks in Australia at the third annual World Conference on Cooperative Education.

  4. 1983

    The Learn and Earn Program, the first of its kind, receives official recognition through a Texas Senate resolution introduced by state Sen. Chet Brooks. The program allows students to work on campus, learn job skills, and receive credit.

    The first annual student art show is displayed around a Renaissance theme.

  5. 1984

    Break-dancing, the latest craze, is taught in workshops.

    The COM Art Gallery’s show Houston Figurative Art is named among 10 best exhibits of 1984 by the Houston Chronicle.

    Two instructors are in the 1984 inaugural edition of Who’s Who in American Nursing: Connie O’Kane and Charlotte Wisnewski.

  6. 1985

    A dislocated workers program begins with a $275,000 federal grant to retrain laid-off workers.

  7. 1986

    A lecture on AIDS is held with Community Support for AIDS and the Galveston County Health District to enhance understanding and compassion.

  8. 1987

    COM’s chapter of the international community honor society, Phi Theta Kappa, is voted best in the state and the chapter is elected state president at annual convention.

    Campus events are featured on cable, including a Mainland Chorale concert and campus address by Cesar Chavez.

  9. 1988

    Choirs spend Thanksgiving in Mexico City after they are invited to perform with the 200-piece Mexico City Symphony Orchestra.

  10. 1989

    The Texas Attorney General recognizes students in the COM social work program for volunteering in the Galveston Attorney General’s office.

    Ribbon cutting for the Small Business Development Center is held.


  1. 1990

    Auto/diesel and Welding Buildings are added.

    Activist Ralph Nader delivers COM’s commencement address.

    Renate True was named a Piper Professor, which honors 10 outstanding Texas professors each year. Prior to COM, True was a member of the first all-women aquanaut team and lived in an undersea habitat for two weeks.

  2. 1992

    The Tech Prep Program gives students college credit for some classes taken at high school.

    Weekend College, spring mini-sessions, and condensed courses offer students alternatives to traditional semester-long classes.

    COM is among the first colleges in the nation to guarantee that students’ credit courses in university parallel programs will transfer to all state institutions.

    COM completes a $2 million campus-enhancement project. It creates a jogging trail around Lake Eckert, renovates the Student Center, and adds classrooms to the Technical-Vocational Building.

  3. 1994

    Gov. Ann Richards visits the campus during her Texas tour before the election.

  4. 1995

    The Texas Legislature expands COM’s service area to include Friendswood and League City.

    COM connects to the Internet with a $20,000 National Science Foundation grant.

    COM launches two telecourses.

    COM generates $15 million locally in business volume, according to a study by the Center for Economic Development and Research at UHCL.

  5. 1996

    “Mousercise” class is offered for preschool children to dance, play, and pretend while learning about physical fitness.

  6. 1997

    COM dedicates the Norman Albert Koneman III Fountain in memory of a La Marque man and Navy veteran who died of cancer at 49.

  7. 1998

    Dr. Dorothy McNutt directed creation of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Workforce Education Course Manual.

    A new college course is taught via the Internet and is transferable to universities.


  1. 2001

    The Organization of African American Culture, founded in 1978, is recognized as the longest-running organization on campus.

    An NAACP chapter forms, open to students and employees, which will work with the community to give students opportunities to learn leadership skills.

    The Clear Creek satellite facility offers credit and continuing education courses, including Best-Selling Novels, Scrimshaw, and Notary Procedures and Training.

  2. 2002

    The National Science Foundation awards a $3 million, three-year grant to establish the Center for the Advancement of Process Technology.

    PACT (an alternative teacher certification program) is approved.

  3. 2003

    The Distance Education Department develops four hybrid courses, a mix of online and face-to-face training.

    The COM Learning Center-North County opens.

  4. 2005

    The June Godard Webb Memorial Scholarship was established to create permanent assistance to COM fine arts students.

  5. 2006

    The college COM hosts a program to recognize survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

    The Jack and June McConnell Memorial Scholarship was endowed with a $126,000 gift to continue to help education students.

  6. 2007

    COM develops the Gulf Coast Safety Institute and the Occupational Safety and Health Technology Program with a $5 million gift.

  7. 2008

    COM is named a Military Friendly School by Victory Media.

    The Adult Education Department is awarded $20,000 by the Barbara Bush Foundation to support literacy efforts in the recovery after Hurricane Ike.

    COM Foundation creates a Hurricane Ike Student Emergency Fund to assist students with educational needs.


  1. 2011

    COM becomes an Achieving the Dream Leader College.

  2. 2012

    The first Oh Snap! Cell Phone Photo Contest is held, open to the community.

    A zombie course, The Undead in Literature, by Professor Bernie Smiley explores the evolution of monsters in books through the years.

    COM Upward Bound students rock the Academic Bowl, fielding questions from pop culture to science.

    COM Library is on top of the world! It receives international recognition as the most active LibAnswers (Q&A database) institution out of 443 worldwide.

  3. 2013

    Students from COM and local colleges present projects at COM’s first academic symposium, sponsored by the Gulf Coast Intercollegiate Consortium.

    Professor Stacey Burleson offers Post-apocalyptic Lit.

  4. 2014

    Community College Week names COM the fourth in the nation in number of science technology graduates.

    Make a Difference Day is held; students learn about volunteer organizations in Galveston County.

    COM launches Veterans Center.

  5. 2015

    An independent student resource,, names COM the fourth most affordable two-year online program in Texas.

    COM receives a $2.6 million Department of Education grant under the Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program. Only 96 colleges in the nation received the grant that year.