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Eastern Arizona College
Motto Futures begin at EAC.
Established 1888
Type Community College
President Mark Bryce, JD
Location Thatcher, Arizona, USA
Campus Rural
Colors Purple & Gold
Nickname Gila Monsters
Mascot 'Gila Hank'

Eastern Arizona College (EAC), is an Arizona community college located in Graham County, Arizona. The main campus is in Thatcher, with satellite locations in Gila County, and Greenlee County. It is the oldest community college in Arizona and the only community college in Arizona with a marching band.





Eastern Arizona College was chartered by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1888. Classes started in a church room in Central, Arizona in 1890 with 17 students and was called the St. Joseph Stake Academy. In 1891, classes were moved to Thatcher, Arizona, due to being more centralized and needing more room. The school continued to expand, though it was strapped financially. In 1908, a new 21-room building was opened that would eventually be called Old Main.

In 1932, the Church stated they could no longer afford to support the college financially and would close it unless the local valley could support it. In 1933, an election was held and the valley passed an initiative funding the school. Ownership of the school passed to the state of Arizona in 1933. There is no religious affiliation today. In 1962, it became the newest member of the Arizona's Junior College System. The 1960s was a time of growth and the college purchased nearby farmland to extend their campus.

In 1972 a fine arts center was completed. In 1979, two fires within one week destroyed Old Main. The building was razed and a new administration building was constructed on the site. During the 1987-1988 school year, Eastern Arizona College celebrated its centennial.

Eastern Arizona College has changed names nine times, growing from a one-room school house to becoming a large community college serving three counties and hosting a satellite campus for a university.[1]


EAC is a state sponsored community college and comes under the guidance and control of the state of Arizona.


The main campus 32°49′58″N 109°45′46″W / 32.83278°N 109.76278°W / 32.83278; -109.76278 (32.832685, -109.762879)[2] sits in the center of the Upper Gila River Valley with Arizona's beautiful Mt. Graham towering to the south and the Gila River to the north. The buildings on the campus are plain, however the grass, trees, and flower beds on EAC's campus are impeccably maintained year round. [3]

On September 15, 2007, Eastern Arizona College dedicated their Bell Tower. The tower is located adjacent to the administration building, between north and south campuses.[4]


Eastern Arizona College provides five dormitories for student housing. EAC has the following housing locations:

  • Mark Allen
  • Wesley Taylor
  • Nellie Lee
  • Residence towers (two towers)

Currently, housing is only available for single students. Married housing is not available on-campus, but is available off-campus. Most married couples are able to find off-campus apartments.

In addition to on campus housing, there are many off campus housing places available for rent. EAC has a housing office with information for both on-campus and off-campus living.[5]


Eastern Arizona College is divided into nine different academic divisions. They are:

  • Business[6]
  • Communicative Arts[7]
  • Fine Arts[8]
  • Health and Physical Education[9]
  • Industrial Technology Education[10]
  • Liberal Studies[11]
  • Mathematics[12]
  • Science and Allied Health[13]
  • Social Sciences[14]


Eastern Arizona College was referenced in the September 9-15, 2007, issue of American Profile magazine. The article addressed U.S. schools who have an unusual name for their team mascot.[15] EAC's mascot is the Gila Monsters. EAC's mascot is also named on Marc's Distinctive College Mascot Collection [16], a Web site dedicated to schools with unusual mascot names.

In season 17 of "The Simpsons," the episode "See Homer Run" featured a suit worn by Homer as he performed his duties as "Safety Salamander." At one point Marge commented that the suit "looks like the mascot from some horrible southern college." The uncanny resemblance between Safety Salamander and Gila Hank have led many to suspect that Marge's comment may be a reference to Eastern Arizona College.


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