Bates Technical College Kicks Off 75th Anniversary

Mobile Food Truck students learn everything from sanitation and food safety basics to cost control, menu development and creating a business plan, just to name a few.


Submitted by Bates Technical College

On Tuesday, Sept. 22, Bates Technical College kicked off a year-long celebration of the college’s 75th anniversary during employee Opening Day.

Beginning with a proclamation from Governor Jay Inslee designating the day Bates Technical College 75th Anniversary Day, employees watched short videos, heard department updates, and finished the morning with birthday cupcakes.

The main events of the 2015-2016 celebratory year include a community-focused grand opening of the new Advanced Technology Center building at Central/Mohler Campus in January, and a formal gala at the new building on Saturday, May 21, 2016.

Founded in 1940, the college opened on Sept. 4 as the Tacoma Vocational-Technical Institute in the basement of Hawthorne Elementary School. The training programs were developed because of the need to offer workforce education in Pierce County aimed at supporting the war effort.

In 1945, the institute moved to 11th and Yakima Avenue in Tacoma, the current site of the college’s Downtown Campus location. In 1969, the institute was renamed L. H. Bates Vocational-Technical Institute to honor the service of longtime director of vocational education L. H. “Verne” Bates. Legislation signed by Gov. Booth Gardner in 1991 resulted in Bates becoming a part of the two-year college system, renaming the institute Bates Technical College.

The college is Washington state’s oldest, continuously-running public technical college, and plays a significant role in our economy. Graduates and former students contribute $241.1 million in added income to the regional economy each year. According to the state’s Education Research and Data Center, the five-year median salary for Bates Technical College students who graduated during the 2007-2008 academic year, was more than $53,000—higher than any other public two-year college statewide.

We invite you to learn more about the college’s history, anniversary events, and share stories. Go to or