Hagerstown Community College (HCC) was founded in 1946 as Maryland’s first community college. More than 100 programs of study are available for university transfer, career preparation, or personal development, as well as non-credit continuing education courses, customized training programs and Washington County’s adult education program. Associate degrees, certificates and letters of recognition are awarded. HCC is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Special programs include the Job Training Student Resources for adults in need of immediate job skills and the ESSENCE Program, which enables area high school students to take college classes at a discounted rate. The 319-acre picturesque campus encompasses 18 buildings and includes a full-service business incubator, numerous gardens, and an outdoor amphitheater.
Hagerstown Community College (HCC) is a two-year public community college offering both transfer and career-oriented programs, as well as continuing education classes. The College has maintained accreditation by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools since its first review in 1968 and continues to meet the requirements necessary to maintain that accreditation. HCC is a member of the American Association of Community Colleges.
Seventy years ago, Hagerstown Junior College started as the first of its kind in Maryland. Classes began on September 18, 1946, in the evenings, at Hagerstown High School, and most of the students attended on the G.I. Bill. In 1948, the first graduation ceremony was held and 25 students received degrees. Since then, more than 150,000 students have taken advantage of HCC’s value in getting a quality education at an affordable cost.
From its humble beginnings in 1946, and despite early community sentiment that was not overly supportive of higher education, the college grew and flourished. In 1956, HJC, which was then a part of the Board of Education, got its own location in what was affectionately called the “Cracker Box” on the campus of South Hagerstown High School. As enrollment continued to increase, plans were made to find a suitable location to accommodate the growth, and in 1965, ground was broken on land that is now home to the thriving campus on Robinwood Drive. The first classes were held at the new location in September of 1966, with 782 students.
Since that time, the college has continued to grow, in the number of students, faculty and staff, and programs offered. David Warner currently is serving as the interim president of the college, since the retirement of HCC's third President Guy Altieri, who retired on December 31, 2017. He followed in the steps of Norman Shea, who served from 1986 to 2002, and Atlee Kepler, who was appointed dean of the college in 1953 and president in 1961.
In 1998, the name was changed from Hagerstown Junior College to Hagerstown Community College to more accurately reflect the mission it serves. The current campus has grown to 319 acres with 18 buildings. More than 100 programs of study are now offered. Each year, more than 6,000 students take classes for college credit and more than 7,000 students take continuing education classes. Since 2003, early college enrollment has grown to nearly 900 high school students who take HCC classes each year through the ESSENCE Program and the STEMM Technical Middle College.
As HCC celebrates its 70th anniversary, the words of Dr. Atlee Kepler, in 1987, are still true today. “And may I remind all friends of HJC that past, present, and future all merge in the concept of a college whose place in the community is both deserved and full of expanding possibilities.”
Learn more about the history of HCC by viewing the college timeline.