The community college now known as the College of the Marshall Islands came into official existence when the Board of Regents of the Community College of Micronesia issued its charter on October 10, 1989, designatingit as the College of Micronesia-Majuro. Less than two years later, in January 1991, it was given its present name and accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. In April 1993,CMI became an independent entity with its own Board of Regents and was chartered to serve as the post-secondary agency for the RMI.
As an institution, CMI can trace its origins to several earlier programs. The oldest of these was a school of nursing established by the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. Begun on Moen Island in Chuuk in 1953, it was later moved to Pohnpei, then to Palau, then to Saipan in the Northern Marianas, and finally, in 1986, to Majuro. This School of Nursing was affiliated with the University of Guam in 1972 to confer the Associate of Science degree in Nursing. In 1975, the Trust Territory Department of Public Health assigned responsibility for the school to the Community College of Micronesia under the Trust Territory Department of Education. Responsibility was then shifted to the Board of Regents of the College of Micronesia in 1978.
The origins of the elementary education courses at CMI can be traced to the Micronesia Teacher Education Center, opened in 1963 on Pohnpei for in-service instruction. This center soon established a branch on Majuro, known as the Marshall Islands Teacher Education Center. In 1970 the High Commissioner of the Trust Territory issued a directive making the educational centers into the Community College of Micronesia (CCM). Majuro’s program then became an extension of CCM, offering pre-service elementary teacher education. Three years later it added a Curriculum, Learning, and Training Center which awarded graduates a two-year degree in education. The dual focus of this Center was on teacher education and curriculum development. Curriculum development covered most elementary subjects and was tested in Majuro’s Rita Elementary School. In 1990 the program, now called the Continuing Education Center, ceased to be an extension of the Community College of Micronesia and was renamed the CMI Division of Instructional Services.
A third component dates from 1981, when the Community College of Micronesia, based in Pohnpei, was awarded U.S. Land Grant status. It began operations on Majuro in 1983, offering non-credit courses in agriculture and home economics, among others, and it continues to do so. By 1987, all three programs – nursing, education, and the Land Grant extension – were housed together in Majuro on the present College campus. In 1988, they were integrated under a single administrator by directive of the College of Micronesia Board of Regents. In 1989, they were combined to constitute the College of Micronesia-Majuro, which became independent in April 1993 as the College of the Marshall Islands. In 2006, the College entered a phase of rapid improvement in facilities, including the opening of new Residence Hall facilities (2007), Tolemour Hall -- a new Math, Science and Nursing Building with a state-of-the-art Simulation Nursing Laboratory (2008). The College broke ground for a new energy building to be occupied in late 2008 with another new classroom building to be opened in 2009.