Golden Anniversary: ACC Celebrates 50 Years of Serving Central Texas

Sunday, September 17, 2023 marks 50 years since Austin Community College District (ACC) officially opened its doors. The college first held classes on September 17, 1973, to meet the needs and demands for higher education and workforce development in Central Texas. 

Since the college began, it has served more than one million students. Almost 80% of ACC students stay in Texas to work and serve in the community. After students complete at ACC their earnings increase by an average of more than 50% in the first five years.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary, ACC hosts a series of events and activities districtwide Sunday, September 17, through Friday, September 22. We are asking the community to join us on some key events this week:

Sunday, September 17: Light Up Purple

ACC campuses will Light Up Purple! in celebration of the more than one million students served. We invite our community and partners to light up their buildings purple, too. The college will “Light Up Purple” in celebration of major college achievements, awards, and academic excellence. Snap a photo, tag us @ACCDistrict, and use #GoPurple. We can’t wait to see all the PURPLE! 

Saturday, September 23: 50 Years Later: A Riverbat Homecoming Fest

The celebration culminates with a large, community-wide event at ACC Highland –– “50 Years Later: A Riverbat Homecoming Fest”. 

  • Date: Saturday, September 23
  • Time: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Location: ACC Highland Campus
  • What: The Homecoming Fest is free and open to the entire community. It includes campus tours, simulations and demonstrations, performances, a celebration of the past 50 years, and more from all areas of study and programs from across the district. 

To RSVP, click here. To view the full schedule of events, visit

Saturday, September 23: ACC Make It Center Grand Opening

The Make It Center will host its grand opening during the Homecoming Fest. The innovative center is the result of a deep collaboration between the college and the Make It Movement. Through hands-on career exploration, the MIC allows students and the community to pursue their passions, find their purpose, and discover educational pathways to get them there.

Through collaborative business and industry partnerships, the MIC will explore and inspire meaningful career pathways that lead to well-paying and in-demand jobs, impacting the ACC community’s quality of life and economic mobility.  

Central Texas City Council Proclamations

At least five Central Texas city councils honor the impact of the college by issuing proclamations in recognition of ACC’s work to change higher education and its commitment to workforce development, career advancement, and access to affordable education. Kyle and Elgin issued their proclamations on Tuesday, September 5. Leander will issue one on Thursday, September 21, followed by Cedar Park on Thursday, September 28. A proclamation is also planned for the City of Austin.

ACC History

ACC opened in September 1973 with just 1,700 students. The college first leased Anderson High School and renamed it Ridgeview, offering college credit, occupational training, adult basic education, and high school general equivalency courses. Less than 10 years later, the college was approved to expand its service area to Travis County. Since then, the college expanded to six counties, grew to 11 campuses, and serves about 70,000 students annually.

For more information, visit

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