History of the College

Celebrate 29 Years with VISTA!

This year, 2024, Northwest Vista College celebrates 29 years of Creating Opportunities for Success in the San Antonio community. The college is located in one of San Antonio’s fastest growing areas and continues to serve thousands of students every year in search of higher education. 

NVC Milestones:

  • NVC was established in 1994
  • Classes began in the fall of 1995 at partner sites, including the Northside Independent School District.
  • Enrollment that first semester was 12 students.
  • In 1998, NVC opened its first building.
  • The first graduating class was in 1998 and had 20 graduates.
  • In the 2008-09 academic year, NVC opened five new buildings.
  • In 2012, NVC was nationally recognized by the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program.
  • In 2014, Dr. Jackie Claunch retired and Ric Baser became NVC President.
  • In 2018:
    • NVC held its 20th graduation ceremony.
  • In 2020: 
    • NVC is currently the third largest higher education institution in San Antonio.
    • NVC ranked No. 1 community college in Texas and No. 6 in the nation on the 2019 Best Colleges in America list released by Niche, a leading platform with 50 million users looking for information on K-12 schools and colleges in the U.S. The ranking is based on academic, admissions, financial aid and student life data from the U.S. Department of Education as well as millions of reviews from students and alumni regarding value, academics, campus life and other factors important to students.
    • NVC is ranked No. 2 among the best community college in Texas by BestColleges.com  for key performance indicators including acceptance, retention, graduation, enrollment rates and loan default percentages as a measure of graduates’ success.
    • NVC ranked No. 4 community colleges in the nation for Hispanics based on enrollment and degree completion data by Hispanic Outlook on Education magazine.
    • NVC was awarded the 2018 “Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges” from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) and “Diverse: Issues in Higher Education” magazine. NVC is among 18 colleges selected for this award from over 300 qualifying in the Unites States. NVC is one of five colleges in Texas and the only college in San Antonio and within the Alamo College District to receive this award this year.
    • More than 17,000 students enrolled at NVC.
    • Dr. Ric Baser is the college’s current president.
  • 2020 – NVC becomes the first college within the Alamo Colleges District to establish a local chapter of SALUTE Veterans Honor Society.
  • In 2020 and 2021 NVC was awarded the “Most Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges” from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) and “Diverse: Issues in Higher Education” magazine.
  • In 2021, NVC held its 23rd commencement ceremony.
  • Awards in 2021:
    • 2021 Best Colleges.com
    • #4 – Northwest Vista College
    • #10 – Palo Alto College
    • 18 – St. Philip’s College
    • 2022 Niche.com
    • #2 – Northwest Vista College
    • #7 – Palo Alto College
    • #11 – St. Philip’s College
    • #21 – San Antonio College
  • 2021 – NVC named to the list of Top 150 U.S. Community Colleges and qualified to compete for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.
  • In 2022, Dr. Rick Baser retired and Debbie Gaitan became Interim NVC President.
  • In 2022, NVC opened Cedar Elm STEM Center (CESC) Building and received San Antonio Institute of Architects (AIA) Educational Place Award.
  • In 2023, Dr. Amy Bosley became NVC President.
  • 2023 – NVC invited to compete for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.
  • 2024 - NVC named no. 3 on Intelligent.com's Best Community Colleges in Texas.


Our Story

Over the past 29 years, NVC, which held its first classes in 1995 with 12 students, has grown to 16,752 students in 2018 and has graduated thousands of students with associate of arts degrees, associate of science degrees, associate of applied science degrees and certificates. The Desert Willow Welcome Center *DWWC) and Texas Ash Parking Garage, opened in 2020, will house advising, enrollment, and all student services, The Cedar Elm STEM Center (CESC) Building, opened in 2023, will provide more academic space. These additional construction projects and others will help NVC accommodate 20,000 students.

Overlooking NVCIn nearly three decades, NVC has been honored for its commitment to student learning, advising, and the preservation of campus nature, along with regional and national top rankings by Best Colleges.com and Niche.com. The college received the Texas Award for Performance Excellence in 2007 for “role models for achieving sustained performance excellence,” and was a part of the Alamo Colleges District that won the 2018 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award—a presidential-level honor that is the most prestigious honor a higher education institution can achieve for performance excellence in innovation, efficiency, and leadership.

NVC was most recently one of the 150 colleges eligible for the 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the country’s signature recognition of top achievement and performance in learning, certificate and degree completion, employment and earnings as well as high levels of access and success for minority and low-income students. The college has been invited to apply for the award in 2021 and in 2023, currently competing for the 2025 award.

It all began in 1994 when World Savings donated 111.9 acres and the Alamo Colleges District purchased 25.5 acres for $217,000. A year later, the Alamo Colleges District Board of Trustees approved the establishment of the fourth college and later approved the name, chosen from 258 ideas submitted by community residents. The first phase of construction of the current NVC campus began the following year.

By the first commencement ceremony, held in 1998 at the University of Incarnate Word, there were 20 graduates and enrollment had increased to more than 1,500.

NVC LakeNVC went from having three buildings in 1998 to having 11 in 2009, as the college expanded to include more classrooms and a lake in the middle of campus. When the modern two-story 50,000-square-foot Desert Willow Welcome Center and Texas Ash Parking Garage opens this spring, the campus will have its twelfth building and second parking garage.

NVC continues to grow and serve our students and community through innovative college practices, such as providing free education to many area high school graduates through AlamoPROMISE, an Alamo Colleges District initiative.

About Northwest Vista College: Alamo Colleges - Northwest Vista College opened in 1995 with 12 students. Currently, enrollment exceeds 16,000 students who are pursuing associate degrees and certificates, as well as transferring to four-year institutions. Located in Westover Hills, Northwest Vista College’s expanding agreements with business and higher education partnerships provide a wealth of opportunities for students and the community. 


Get Your Degree at NVC!

To learn about getting an associate degree at NVC, click here.