Vallejo's institutes of higher education are both in calmer financial waters in 2013 thanks to voter-approved tax funding, and new construction on nearly all the campuses. 

Here is a look back on the year and its highlights for Solano Community College, Napa Valley College, California Maritime Academy, and Touro University. 

California Maritime Academy

The South Vallejo campus, one of 23 schools in the California State University system, saw several high profile construction projects. 

A ground breaking was held in April on a new physical education and aquatics center to replace the 1945 Mayo Hall. Interstate 80 commuters have watched the large building under construction on the entrance to the campus along California Maritime Academy Drive.

Cal Maritime' efforts to modernize its campus took another big step forward with opening in late October of a $17 million spacious new dining center along the waterfront. The facility opened months after a new bookstore.

The dining center's opening coincided with a visit from new California State University Chancellor Timothy White who came to conduct Cal Maritime President Thomas Cropper's formal investiture as the college's 14th president.

In the spring, Cal Maritime students led efforts to expand South Vallejo bus service to include the somewhat isolated campus in Morrow Cove under the Carquinez Bridge.

Touro University 

Touro University on Mare Island also saw completion of a new library annex which includes three classrooms and two labs for the College of Pharmacy.

Further, one professor and his efforts to gain more understanding of obesity received a huge boost with a new $3 million National Institutes of Health grant. Bio chemistry professor Jean Marc-Schwarz has gained considerable notoriety for studying the prevalent food additive high-fructose corn syrup. 

Awarded to Touro's Graduate School of Education was an American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education grant to help create online learning modules and digital learning tools.

U.S. News and World Report ranked Touro's College of Osteopathic Medicine 10th nationally because nearly half its graduates enter primary care residencies. 

The College of Pharmacy won a "Script Your Future Team Challenge's Health Disparities, under-Represented Community Outreach Award" and recognition among peers for serving minorities. 

Solano Community College 

New state taxes also allowed Solano College to reinstate summer school after canceling it the prior year to save $1 million, and also restore some classes and programs. 

The school also is moving its newly reinstated automotive technology program into the shuttered Ford dealership at Georgia Street and Solano Avenue.

The school is also pursuing plans to use Measure Q bond funds to buy adjacent lands to expand the Vallejo Center satellite campus. 

In addition, the college contracted with the Solano Sheriff's Department to take over policing services on the Fairfield, Vallejo and Vacaville campuses. 

Meanwhile, Solano College professor of fire science and technology Roy Pike announced plans to hold a large conference on how much agencies have learned from the devastating Oct. 19, 1991, Oakland fire. 

Napa Valley College 

Napa College solidified its leadership position through the permanent hiring of interim president Ronald Kraft. 

Like Cropper, Kraft took part in the school's first investiture ceremony, a largely symbolic activity which drew staff and community leaders, plus a state official. 

The school also opened a new Veterans Resource Center within Building 1200 which will help returning veterans reenter civilian life. 

Later in the year, American Canyon board trustee Brenda Knight announced she would step down with one year left on her term to devote more time to her other educational interests. 

Numerous people applied for the opening and the board chose to appoint human resources specialist Mary Ann Moncuso of American Canyon. 

Contact staff writer Sarah Rohrs at or (707) 553-6832. Follow her on Twitter @SarahVTH.