On September 13, 1965, Tacoma Community College opened its doors to the public. The founding of the College was the culmination of four years of coordinated effort, steadfast leadership and grassroots community support. Built around the idea that educational opportunity is a critical component of a thriving community, TCC set forth on a mission to bring high-quality, affordable education to all, without regard to means or circumstance. Over the next 50 years, as thousands of students passed through the open door to previously unavailable opportunity and achievement, the strength and resilience of this simple idea would be tested. Through economic hardship, social upheaval, changing job markets and times of crisis both global and local, Tacoma Community College would prove to be an enduring educational institution. This is the story of TCC, as told by the students, faculty, staff and community leaders who helped to build, develop and defend Tacoma’s open door college.