Napa Valley College is the result of a Napa visionary of the early 1940s: Dr. Harry McPherson, superintendent of schools in Napa County. His dream and determination led to the people of Napa passing a $650,000 bond issue in 1941 and the next year, Napa Junior College was founded as part of Napa Union High School district. The first year of World War II marked the college's first class—of just 16 students, only one of whom was male. Once the war was over, Service men and women flooded into the new college seeking educational opportunities. During 1948-49, new college facilities were built next to the high school.
The community reaffirmed its commitment to the local college in 1962 by passing a bond issue to buy land and build a new college campus on land previously occupied by Napa State Hospital. After 23 years, the college had its own campus, its own school district, and an enrollment of 1,771 students. It renamed itself Napa College and continued to grow its student body on the site it continues to occupy to this day.
In 1982, Napa College changed its name to Napa Valley College. The official opening of a permanent Upper Valley Campus in St. Helena in 1994 brought educational opportunities closer to home for upper valley residents and added new dimensions to the college curriculum.
A 2002 Bond allowed the college to add a new library, Performing Arts Center, and state of the art life sciences building as well as updating existing classrooms and labs.
Our Faculty, Staff and Students
Napa Valley College has 113 full-time faculty positions and over 216 part-time faculty. More than 400 staff members and administrators support our educational programs. We are a community of people excited about learning, and the college promotes and supports a spirit of teamwork. Attracting, nurturing, and celebrating diversity in staff and students is a college priority. We work with a diverse population of students from all socio-economic, cultural and educational backgrounds and were officially designated a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) by the US Department of Education in 2011. This diversity is the real treasure of the educational experience at Napa Valley College. We value, model and encourage student success, honesty, creativity, integrity, inclusivity, openness to new ideas, respect for others, and health and wellness. We believe these values support the variety of learning abilities and life experiences present in the community college culture.