WOODLAND HILLS — Students and administrators at Pierce College kicked off the fall semester Tuesday with a bash to celebrate an increase in enrollment unseen since the 1960s.
"We're calling it 'Miracle on Winnetka,' " said Pierce spokesman Mike Cornner. "We're the comeback kids."
Fall enrollment increased from 12,992 last year to 14,744, Cornner said. The school's biggest one-year enrollment increase was from 9,400 in fall 1964 to 11,100 in 1965, he said.
The news caused lots of excitement on campus, which in recent years has had continuous declines in enrollment as well as a series of ongoing financial problems.
But those days seemed long gone Tuesday. The campus mall was decorated with balloons, and loud music played during a two-hour celebration that featured Los Angeles Laker cheerleaders and a free lunch of sandwiches and soft drinks for 1,000 students.
"It's incredible, people are sky high," said Pierce President Darroch "Rocky" Young.
Young, a popular Santa Monica College administrator, was named president last year to help revive the troubled campus.
He attributed the enrollment increase to, among other things, a high school outreach program, an aggressive TV and radio marketing campaign and newly installed air conditioning.