March 8, 2021

Copper Mountain Community College District (CMCCD) will celebrate its 20th anniversary over the next several months by honoring the pioneers that brought the dream of a College alive in this community.

Copper Mountain College (CMC) would like to invite you to meet those who saw a vision and persevered to see the Morongo Basin have a place for its residents to get an education close to home. This month, join us in honoring the Friends of Copper Mountain at the March 11, 2021, CMCCD Board of Trustees Meeting.

black and white photo of adults holding bags with dollar signs on them.

The College was initially founded in 1966 when Morongo Unified School District residents elected to join the Coachella Valley Community District (currently known as the Desert Community College District). Classes were first offered in the High Desert in the fall of 1967 at the Twentynine Palms High School.

In 1981, a group of Morongo Basin residents decided to build a campus with funds raised by community volunteers, and by 1982, the Friends of Copper Mountain was formed. Land was donated by Morongo Unified School District, and with the support of many others, including the Marine Base, the first phase of the College was completed by 1984.

The new campus quickly attracted a host of first-generation college students, including a large population of Marines and their dependents.

As a natural next step, community leaders began to suggest pursuing separation from College of the Desert. State Senator James Brulte (R-Rancho Cucamonga) heard of CMC’s desire to become its own district and introduced legislation that created the Copper Mountain Community College District.

By a greater than 90% vote in November 1999, Morongo Basin residents endorsed their new College. With the final step, in June 2001, CMC was granted full accreditation status by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Twenty years later, we have that original group of Friends of Copper Mountain to thank for their passion and determination to create our community college in the Morongo Basin. Upon accreditation, the Friends of Copper Mountain was renamed Copper Mountain College Foundation.

Past board members as well as current board members, and old and new friends, will be online to be recognized during this twentieth year of being an independent College. If you are unable to catch the Board meeting, feel free to see the honorees posted here.

For more information on the Friends of Copper Mountain or the 20th anniversary celebration, contact Sandy Smith, Executive Director of the Foundation, at or 760.366.5201, ext. 4200.