In 1982, a task force of educators and parents undertook the establishment of Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College. A Needs Assessment and Planning effort was conducted in the summer of 1982 and the task force called on the Bureau of Indian Affairs to conduct a feasibility study to determine the appropriateness of a tribal community college at Lac Courte Oreilles.
In August of 1982, the Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Governing Board chartered the college and provided it with Articles of Incorporation. Classes were held throughout the 1982 – 1983 academic year primarily through the volunteer efforts of part-time instructors.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs conducted on-site evaluations in April of 1983 and notified the college that it had fulfilled all requirements and was approved for funding for the fiscal year under P.L. 95-471, the Tribally Controlled Community College Assistance Act of 1978. This Act continues to be the prime source of funding for the college.
LCOOCC granted its first certificates of completion in the Community Health Educator program in June 1985. In May 1986, the college granted its first Associate of Arts Degree.
LCOOCC was granted candidate status for accreditation by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools in February 1987. This six-year accreditation process resulted in full accreditation of all programs in February 1993. Credit transfer agreements with public and private colleges and universities were signed and two-plus-two agreements in Nursing with UW-Eau Claire and Agriculture and Natural Resource Management with UW-River Falls were developed to facilitate transfer of LCOOCC students to baccalaureate programs. In 1998, LCOOCC was granted an additional 8 years of reaccreditation.
LCOOCC received Land Grant Status approval on October 5, 1994, in legislation passed by the U.S. Congress within the Tribal College Act Endowment Amendment. This Amendment was attached to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and signed into law by President Bill Clinton.
In spring 2003, the Cultural Resource Center was completed with the grand opening in November 2004. In May 2007, the Library at LCOOCC was completed and the grand opening was held in August 2007.
In 2011 the College dedicated a fully-equipped Nursing Simulation Lab to support instruction in Allied Health programs. In the fall of 2016 a new 6100 sq. ft. facility was dedicated, replacing a portion of campus that had been severely damaged during a fire in 2012. This new “600 Wing” addition contains a large Student Commons, a commercial kitchen, a study room, a classroom, and storage spaces and houses the College’s Extension programs and staff.