Congresswoman Maxine Waters will be honored at the Los Angeles Southwest College 50th Anniversary Gala on September 30. “She has been a strong champion for the college,” President Denise Noldon said. (file photo)

Officials at Los Angeles Southwest College are honoring Congresswoman Maxine Waters on September 30, as they celebrate 50 years among Los Angeles’ higher education landscape. The event begins at 6:00 p.m. at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. Officials are inviting the public to attend.

“Los Angeles Southwest College has served such an integral role in this community for many years,” said LASC Interim President Dr. Denise Noldon.

“But we could not have accomplished all that we have without the support of our dedicated community. We want the community to join us in this celebration because we look upon them as our partners in providing the necessary education to all students regardless of their backgrounds.”

LASC opened in the fall of 1967 with about 600 students and about 22 faculty members. The two-year college, located in South Central, rooted in the idea that L.A. resident Odessa Cox and a coalition of community members had, that students should be able to attend college in their own neighborhood.

“The other colleges at that time … [L.A.] City College (for instance) was like four bus rides away from us,” said Dr. Sandra Cox, daughter of LASC founding member Odessa Cox.

“Initially the push was trade; they didn’t push for academics but my parents and their committee fought that tooth and nail. They said they wanted a complete curriculum that covered it all …”

Today, the college has more than 8,000 credit and non-credit students, 75 full-time faculty members and 150 adjunct instructors.

LASC is an educational and cultural hub for the surrounding communities.

“In honor of its founding history, Los Angeles Southwest College provides a student-centered learning environment committed to empower students and the community to achieve their academic and career goals, through the attainment of certificates and associate degrees leading to transfer and workforce preparation,” said LASC officials via their website.

“Our history is unique in that our surrounding community fought for this college to be built,” Noldon said.

“That is why we’re acknowledging the people who fought for us to be able to provide education to our community in South Los Angeles. We’ll be acknowledging our community partners like Charles Drew (University), Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who is a strong champion of the college. We’re acknowledging our family of founders.

“We have two of our founders who are still living and we thought it important to publically acknowledge the work they were involved in for so long…”

Tickets for LASC’s anniversary gala, 506 South Grand Avenue, Downtown Los Angeles, can be purchased at To purchase a table for this memorable event, contact 323-241-5273 or send an email to [email protected].