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MJC: East & West boast 25,000 plus students
The Science Community Center-Great Valley Museum of Natural History building under construction on the West Campus of Modesto Junior College will be the new home of the various collections at the old museum located at MJC East Campus on the corner of Stoddard and College avenues, plus a planetarium, observatory and science sphere, among others. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO

• PLACE: Modesto Junior College East is located at 435 College Avenue, Modesto, Modesto Junior College West is located at 2201 Blue Gum Avenue, Modesto.
• TO GET THERE: For driving directions to both campuses from north and south Highway 99, log on to
• MORE INFO: For additional information about Modesto Junior College, visit

MODESTO - What do George Lucas and Kim Komenich have in common?

Both attended Modesto Junior College.

No introduction is necessary for the renowned film producer and director of “Star Wars” fame, who is also MJC’s most famous alumnus. But the Manteca native and Manteca High graduate may need a few words of introduction to some. The photojournalist, and now photojournalism professor at California State University, San Jose, is a Pulitzer Prize winner.

Lucas and Komenich, of course, are not the only individuals who were proud Pirates at one time. Hundreds more, if not thousands, who have walked up and down the hallways of this 92-year-old educational institution, have likewise left their own special marks in the world since the college opened with just 61 students. For them, the community college was their launching pad to a career course where the sky posed no limit to their dreams.

And it’s still so today for the thousands who enroll at Modesto Junior College today – more than 25,000 day and evening students, to be exact, according to the school’s Facebook website.

The campus also boasts a wide variety of community accessible programs from lecture series on science and classes for active seniors to the fine arts, musical and dance performances, to concerts and more. For activities and events go to The campus is also home to the Great Valley Museum of Natural History.

Enrollment is not the only thing that’s grown by leaps and bounds since the 1920s. The college today boasts two campuses – the original MJC-East, located on College Avenue, and MJC-West in northwest Modesto on Blue Gum Avenue. Additionally, the college has 20 community sites that are utilized for other educational needs. Many MJC students graduate with Associate in Arts or Associate in Science degrees, or transfer either to the University of California or the California State University system for more advance degrees.

A snapshot of the MJC degrees and certificates awarded in 2009-10 shows a glimpse of these transitional levels by numbers:

• Associate in Arts (A.A.) – 751

• Associate in Science (A.S.) – 424

• Certificate requiring 12 (less than 18) units – 84

• Certificate requiring 18 (less than 30) units – 72

• Certificate requiring 30 (less than 60) units – 102.

During the same school year, MJC’s student population by gender was 56.38 percent female, 40.53 percent male, and 3.09 undeclared.

Two other fast facts about MJC: more than half of students enrolled live in Modesto. And when it comes to bragging rights, MJC’s Associate Degree Nursing program posted some enviable numbers – a 93.06 percent pass rate on the 2007-08 National Council Licensure Exam, the highest in the Central Valley, and higher than the national pass rate of 85 percent and California’s statewide rate of 86 percent.

One of the oldest community colleges in California, with a premier location in the heart of the Golden State’s Central Valley, MJC – along with Columbia College – is part of the Yosemite Community College District.

209 staff reporter