In September 1968, State Fair Community College opened its doors to 436 students. Located on land west of the Missouri State Fairgrounds, it had just one building – a 35,000-square-foot facility made of six modular units connected by a central hallway.
It wasn’t fancy, but to the staff, students and supporters, it was everything. That day marked the culmination of more than three years of hard work by a group of dedicated Sedalia Jaycees who lobbied to bring higher education to the area.
On April 5, 1966, voters approved the creation of the Junior College District of Sedalia. On April 10, 1968, the college officially became State Fair Community College, the outcome of a “Name the College” contest won by Smith-Cotton High School senior Brenda Weathers.
From the beginning, SFCC’s leadership has been strong and forward-thinking. The founding president was Fred E. Davis, whose energy and thoughtfulness laid the groundwork and set the standard for putting students first. The Automotive Technology Building, the Charles E. Yeater Learning Center and the Marvin R. Fielding Technical Center were built under his watch, and an additional 113 acres were purchased for future growth.
Dr. Marvin Fielding took the reins from 1984 to 1997 and oversaw the construction of three major buildings—the William C. Hopkins Student Services Center, the Stauffacher Center for the Fine Arts and the Potter-Ewing Agriculture Building.
Dr. Steve Poort served as president from 1997 to 2003, during which time the college’s service area was expanded to cover 14 counties. Two more buildings also were dedicated—the Fred E. Davis Multipurpose Center and Daum Museum of Contemporary Art.
In July 2003 Dr. Marsha Drennon took over as president and launched a capital campaign that resulted in construction of the Heckart Science and Allied Health Center and saw enrollment grow to more than 5,000 students a semester.
In 2013 Dr. Joanna Anderson became SFCC’s fifth president; she moved the college forward through the 2020 Vision Strategic Plan and Campus Master Plan, both of which focused on meeting the changing needs of the students and communities the college serves.
In 2017 more than 13,758 students chose SFCC for credit and continuing education classes online and on campus in Sedalia, Boonville, Clinton, Eldon, the Lake of the Ozarks, Warsaw, and Whiteman Air Force Base.
In 2018 SFCC celebrated 50 years of living its mission to “provide relevant and innovative learning experiences that successfully prepare students and enrich the intellectual, economic and cultural vitality of the communities it serves.”
In 2020, the Board of Trustees adopted a new mission, that “State Fair Community College provides relevant and responsive learning experiences that empower our students and communities to prosper.”
Also in 2020, the college launched a Capital Campaign to fund the Olen Howard Workforce Innovation Center. College president, Dr. Joanna Anderson emceed a ground breaking ceremony that featured Missouri Governor Mike Parson as the keynote speaker.
In 2022, Dr. Anderson retired, and the State Fair Community College Board of Trustees appointed Dr. Brent Bates as president. Dr. Bates, who previously served as the Vice President for Academic and Student Support Services, became the sixth president in SFCC’s history.
In 2023, the college purchased 200 acres of pasture farmland on the west side of the Sedalia campus. On this land, the college has a working farm with a live herd and row crops.
This expansion will be home to the agriculture and transportation technology center, which will expand programming in agriculture, the commercial driving academy, automotive and diesel tech, and more.
The Fielding Technology Center was renovated to add a new Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning program and to expand the Robotics and Industrial Electrical Maintenance programs.