National Press and Praise for Cypress College Mortuary Science Program

Chapman University Professor of History Dr. Robert Slayton praises Cypress College’s Mortuary Science program as a model of workforce development and innovation in a recent December Huffington Post piece. Slayton’s op-ed “The Americans are Drowning” speaks to the disruption of labor markets caused by computerization, and how this broad trend is impacting our politics. To help those affected, Slayton details three ways to “alleviate the pain of the transformation.”

One is to “utilize the creativity” of community colleges and make “an AA degree the baseline.” He elaborates on this point, commending Cypress College’s Mortuary Science Program as a “powerful example of what can be done” to address displacement trends.

Says Professor Slayton:

“Several years ago, Cypress College, a two-year institution in Cypress, CA saw a need in the community and innovated, starting one of the few programs in the nation in mortuary science, granting an AA degree. There are only two others in the biggest state in America. This program is so successful it has over 100 students, and has been cited repeatedly in HBO’s Six Feet Under just to give the show legitimacy.”

He continues…

“But that wasn’t enough. Students wanted to go further; in order to be a funeral director you need a four-year Bachelor’s degree. Cypress College responded in admirable fashion; building on their excellent track record, they applied and won certification for a unique progression in California higher education. By the 2017-2018 school year, up to 15 community college districts will be allowed to grant four-year degrees at one of its colleges for an academic program not offered at the University of California and California State University systems. The Orange County Register reported, ‘The mortuary science program at Cypress College was recently selected by North Orange County Community College District trustees as the district’s applicant for a statewide bachelor’s degree pilot program… the nearest universities that offer a bachelor’s degree in the major are located in Oklahoma and Minnesota….’ Here is a program that is making a difference.”

Note that while the piece is political, the praise is non-partisan. Thank you for the recognition, Professor Slayton!


Cypress College is one of California’s top community colleges. Recent 2015-16 accolades include:

#1 in the U.S. | Top Toyota T-TEN Auto-Tech Program in the Nation.
#2 in C.A. | Top Two ESL & Basic Skills English Programs in California.
#3 in C.A. | Ranked as a Top Three California Community College (
#3 in the Region | Ranked Top Three in Greater Los Angeles & Orange County for Student Transfer and Graduation Rates (
15 of 113 | California Community Colleges piloting a Bachelor’s Degree (Mortuary Science)
#17 in the U.S. | National Ranking on MTV-U’s website “Rate-My-Professor”
Top National Licensure Exam Pass Rates | Perfect state licensure pass rates for students in the following programs: Dental Hygiene, Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Abdomen; Diagnostic Medical Sonography (OB/Gyn); Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Physics; and Mortuary Science: Sciences. 90+% state licensure exam pass rates for students in the following programs: Dental Assisting; Mortuary Science (Arts); Radiology Technology. And 85%+ state licensure rates for students in: Health Information Technology; Nursing; and Psychiatric Technology.
2/3ds of the Class of 2015 qualified for transfer to a UC or CSU institution.
75 Orange Empire Athletics Conference Titles
25 California Community College Athletic Association State Championship Titles

#Cypress College #Mortuary Science #BADegree #ChapmanUniversity #HuffingtonPost