(October 27, 2017) – Dr. Guy Altieri, president of Hagerstown Community College, has announced his retirement after a more than 45-year career in higher education, effective December 31, 2017.
“The HCC board recognizes the significant accomplishments that Guy has made to elevate HCC to become the progressive, high-quality institution it is today,” said Greg Snook, HCC board member. “Faculty, staff, students, and the community have greatly benefited from his leadership in providing job training and career preparation opportunities for thousands of local citizens.”
Dr. Guy Altieri came to HCC in 2002 from Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he had been the executive vice president since 1999 and the vice president of instruction and student services, prior to that, starting in 1987.
During his 16 years at HCC, he led the college to experience its strongest enrollment growth in the college’s 70-year history. From 2002 to 2017, enrollment for credit students grew from just over 3,800 to nearly 6,000. In 2010, HCC had the fastest growing enrollment of the 16 community colleges in Maryland. The number of HCC degrees and certificates awarded nearly tripled in his 16 years.
Programs of study grew from 40 to more than 100. A significant growth was in the area of STEMM (science, technology, engineering, math, medical) programs. These included emerging areas such as biotechnology, alternative energy technology, cybersecurity, and advanced manufacturing.
Shortly after his arrival at HCC, Altieri started the ESSENCE Early College Program for high school students. From his experience as a founding architect in the creation of the Washtenaw Technical Middle College, he was able to grow the early college program and successfully started the HCC STEMM Technical Middle College (STMC), working in partnership with Washington County Public Schools, in 2013. HCC now leads the state of Maryland in the number of high school students enrolled at a Maryland community college. Currently, more than 850 students take college classes each year through the ESSENCE Program and 45 are enrolled in the STMC. Since its beginning in 2013, the STMC has graduated 34 students who were able to earn associate degrees at the same time they finished high school.
In 2009, Altieri created a full-time grant writing position. Since that time, the college has been awarded more than $24 million in competitive grants to fund scholarships and equipment for classrooms. Some of the most significant grants came from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Labor.
The physical campus grew significantly under Altieri’s leadership. The five-story, 65,000 sq. ft. STEM Building was opened in the spring of 2012, as was the renovated and expanded Kepler Performing and Visual Arts Education Center. In 2013, the Learning Support Center was opened. The concept of this facility has received awards and been recognized by other education institutions as an example of best practices to help students get the resources they need to succeed.
The former Classroom Building also was renovated and opened in 2012 as the Behavioral Sciences and Humanities Building, which houses the Fletcher Faculty Development Center. The expanded and renovated Student Center opened in 2015 and offers advising and registration, as well as space for students to meet with their peers and engage in student activities. A second entrance to campus was opened in 2016.
Altieri led the college through two successful ten-year accreditation visits by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. During the most recent one, conducted in 2015, HCC met all of the 14 standards of excellence identified by Middle States, was recognized for a number of significant accomplishments, and received no formal recommendations.
Altieri implemented a significant strategic planning process during his tenure, which focused heavily on institutional planning priorities and strategic goals. In 2011, he called upon a team of more than 20 business and community leaders to research and provide input into the strategic plan. The Commission on the Future of HCC addressed four critical areas of study, including student activities and support services; programs and educational support; finances, facilities, human resources, and technology; and institutional effectiveness and quality assurance. The work of this group helped guide the planning for the current and future strategic direction of the college.
Under Altieri’s leadership, many institutional partnerships were developed and enhanced. He has been an active board member of the Hagerstown/Washington County Industrial Foundation (CHIEF), drawing the college into the planning for the Mt. Aetna Farms technology park. Through a grant from the National Science Foundation, HCC was able to partner with the Johns Hopkins University Information Security Institute to assist students studying cybersecurity. He further developed HCC’s involvement with the Community Colleges of Appalachia and the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE). HCC was awarded the NACCE Entrepreneurial College of the Year in 2017.
Throughout his time at HCC, he has been very involved with the Maryland Association of Community Colleges. He was selected by his peers to serve on the MACC Executive Committee for five consecutive years, three of those as vice president, which placed him as the chair of the President’s Council from 2011 to 2013.
In 2017, Altieri launched HCC’s Promise Pathway Program. Similar to other promise programs across the country, this new initiative at HCC is designed to address the financial barriers for high school students who have the academic readiness and commitment to succeed in college, but lack all the necessary financial resources to do so, even if they qualify for federal financial aid. With funding from the HCC Foundation, the first 20 students were able to begin in the fall of 2017. The goal is to assist more than 1,000 local young people over the next 10 years.
The HCC Board of Trustees is working with Altieri to identify an interim president and will begin a comprehensive search for his replacement.