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50 Years of

HACC History

Dear HACC Community, If the founders of Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC) could be with us today, there is much they would not recognize in the school they started 50 years ago as Pennsylvania’s first community college. But they would be certain to recognize our vision and mission: Vision Statement HACC will be the first choice for a quality and accessible higher education opportunity. Mission Statement Creating opportunities and transforming lives to shape the future - TOGETHER.

HACC began as a dream of members of the Harrisburg School District Board of Directors, including Harrisburg attorneys Bruce E. Cooper and James W. Evans. Their hard work in marshaling funding support from school districts across Dauphin, Cumberland and Perry counties brought that dream to life in 1964 when the College held its first classes – for 426 students.

John J. “Ski” Sygielski, Ed.D., HACC president

Trustees Cooper and Evans and their colleagues, along with HACC’s first president, Clyde E. Blocker, knew that accessible, affordable education was the best means of preparing the area’s residents to work at family-sustaining jobs and to become productive, contributing members of their communities. They also recognized education as the best solution for overcoming the persistent social ills of functional illiteracy and generational poverty. HACC would become the “opportunity school,” in the words of Trustee Paul R. Beers. Writing the College’s history for its 25th anniversary in 1989, he accurately predicted that HACC would grow to serve a population far beyond the boroughs and townships surrounding Harrisburg. Today, with 51,548 degrees awarded, five campuses and a thriving virtual learning enterprise, HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, continues to be the “opportunity school” that can best prepare our region’s students for the future and provide a skilled and educated workforce for business and industry. Trustee Beers also was prescient in identifying the great challenge we now face: how to continue to provide opportunity for students at a time of dwindling financial support from our 22 sponsoring school districts and the commonwealth. It is a challenge we will continue to meet with creativity, hard work and, at times, with sacrifice, but always with a commitment to educational access and excellence. Although we cannot know what the next 50 years will bring, if history is any guide, we know that the values underlying HACC’s vision and mission will not change. As we celebrate the good work that has gone before, let us also celebrate the knowledge that the good work we do today is not only for today. It builds the foundation on which HACC will continue to do what we do best: change the lives of our students and enrich the communities we serve. Sincerely,

John J. “Ski” Sygielski

President HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College

Explore this pictorial history of HACC and learn how the College has evolved over the last 50 years as a dynamic partner meeting the educational needs of our communities.





Harrisburg Academy, HACC’s first location (now known as the Dixon University Center)


On Feb. 14, Harrisburg Area Community College becomes the first community college in Pennsylvania when it opens in the former Harrisburg Academy on Second Street. Shortly after opening, the College enrolls 426 students and offers 16 programs for the fall semester. On April 4, HACC merges with Hershey Junior College. 3

Clyde E. Blocker, Ed.D., HACC president, 1964-75


Clyde E. Blocker, Ed.D., HACC’s founding chief executive officer, becomes HACC’s first president. A national leader in the community college movement, he brings with him Maurice C. Overholt, who serves as HACC’s first business manager and staff employee, and James A. Odom Jr., D.A., who later becomes HACC’s third president.


The first Student Government Association (SGA) convenes. Its presidents will include students who move on to serve as HACC trustees, elected officials and other prominent community members, including Peter Wambach, SGA president in 1967, and now a member of the HACC Board of Trustees.


In March, the College purchases a 157-acre landfill in Wildwood Park from the City of Harrisburg for $1.


On April 16, ground is broken for a $3.5 million project to create the Wildwood Campus. This is now designated as the Harrisburg Campus.

Arial view of Wildwood Park prior to construction of the Wildwood Campus


Blocker Hall cornerstone laying on Nov. 29, 1966, includes, from left, Mrs. Guy J. Swope, Gov. William W. Scranton, Raiford E. Spencer and William L. Murray


Harrisburg Area Community College is the first Pennsylvania community college to be accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.


The buildings now known as McCormick Library, Blocker Hall and Stabler Hall are completed and the College moves to the Wildwood Campus (Harrisburg Campus).


The Wildwood Campus (Harrisburg Campus) opens what is now the Cooper Student Center. The building’s name honors one of HACC’s founders, Bruce E. Cooper.

View of the completed Cooper Student Center at the Wildwood Campus (Harrisburg Campus)


Today, Whitaker Hall holds mathematics, social sciences, college offices and the learning center on the Harrisburg Campus.


Whitaker Hall, formerly South Hall, opens and is dedicated in honor of Uncas Aeneas and Helen Whitaker by the Whitaker Foundation, one of the College’s benefactors.

1969: The College opens the associate degree nursing program with 28 students.




The 1970:

Wildwood Campus (Harrisburg Campus) adds the Evans Physical Education Center, named in honor of James W. Evans - one of the College’s founders.

1972: The College begins offering workforce and economic development courses (noncredit).



Tropical Storm Agnes creates record flooding, which damages much of the Wildwood Campus (Harrisburg Campus).



In honor of HACC’s 10th birthday celebration, the Rose Lehrman Arts Center at the Wildwood Campus (Harrisburg Campus) is dedicated, establishing cultural programs for the College and community. Early performers include prominent jazz musicians of the day, Dave Brubeck and Sons and Woody Herman and the Young Thundering Herd.

HACC marks its 10th anniversary with a fall enrollment of 4,380 students. Jazz musician, Woody Herman, performs at the Rose Lehrman Arts Center



S. James Manilla, Ed.D., is inaugurated as the second president of Harrisburg Area Community College.

S. James Manilla, Ed.D., HACC president, 1975-78


The Overholt Bookstore opens at the Wildwood Campus (Harrisburg Campus). Maurice Overholt, HACC’s first staff employee, is the College’s first dean of students and business manager.

Overholt Bookstore


On Oct. 7, James A. Odom Jr., D.A., one of HACC’s first teaching faculty presidents, is inaugurated as the third president of Harrisburg Area Community College. Prior to being named president, Odom was coordinator of admissions and records and an assistant professor of language arts.

James A. Odom Jr., D.A., HACC president, 1978–83




The 1984: HACC marks its 20th anniversary with a fall enrollment of 6,886 students.


The Rose Lehrman Arts Center hosts astronaut James Lovell and author Maya Angelou.


On July 1, Kenneth B. Woodbury Jr., Ed.D. begins his tenure as the fourth president of Harrisburg Area Community College.


Kenneth B. Woodbury Jr., Ed.D., HACC president, 1983-92

The John Hall Technology Center opens at the Wildwood Campus (Harrisburg Campus)


HACC establishes The HACC Foundation to support College development.



The Helen Y. Swope Carillon Clock is erected at the Wildwood Campus (Harrisburg Campus) in honor of one of HACC’s founding trustees and its long-time board secretary. Swope also is one of the founders of the Pennsylvania Federation of Community College Trustees, a state advocacy organization which now works with the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges.


Harrisburg Area Community College begins offering distance education and enrolls 317 students for the program. Courses are delivered using VHS tapes.

Dedication of the Helen Y. Swope Carillon Clock


The College opens its Public Safety Training Center, which later becomes the Sen. John J. Shumaker Public Safety Center in 1990.

Dedication ceremony of the Sen. John J. Shumaker Public Safety Center


Rita Byrne, director of HACC’s Lancaster Center, and Kenneth Woodbury Jr., Ed.D., HACC president, cut the ribbon to open the doors.


HACC begins offering classes in Lancaster to 362 students in the Burle Industries Business Park.


HACC offers courses to more than 200 students in the basement of the Gettysburg Area School Administration Building. Then, it relocates to the Gettysburg Borough Fire Hall in 1990.

Students outside of HACC’s Lancaster Center

HACC students entering the Gettysburg Borough Fire Hall to attend classes




The 1990:

In May, the Lancaster Center is recognized as Lancaster Campus by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.


In August, HACC opens the doors for residents of Lebanon to take classes close to home. However, the building is destroyed by a fire three months later. Efforts to rebuild begin immediately.


The Sen. John J. Shumaker Public Safety Center adds North Hall to accommodate increasing enrollment and expansion.

HACC’s fire truck used for training North Hall



On July 6, Mary L. Fifield, Ph.D. begins her tenure as the fifth president of Harrisburg Area Community College.

Mary L. Fifield, Ph.D., HACC president, 1992-97

Lebanon Campus students move from class to class through its lobby.

In 2012, the campus completes a renovation to its first floor.


HACC’s Lebanon Campus opens after fire reconstruction with 460 students ready to take classes.



Mumma Hall, home to the C. Ted Lick Wildwood Conference Center, opens.


In March, HACC hosts its first “Celebration of Community” at the Scottish Rite Cathedral. The event lived on to host speakers including Maya Angelou (1995), Rita Moreno (1996), Ramsey Lewis (1997) and Mary Wilson of the Supremes (1998).

1994: HACC continues to grow, marking its 30th anniversary with a fall enrollment of 10,385 students.


The Gettysburg Center moves to new expanded facilities in the old Ames store in the North Gettysburg Shopping Center along Old Harrisburg Road. With 457 students enrolled, it’s designated by the Pennsylvania Department of Education as the Gettysburg Campus.


On March 7, Edna V. Baehre, Ph.D., is inaugurated as the sixth president of HACC and oversees the College during a decade of rapid enrollment growth.


The College adds online course delivery and 120 students enroll. Over time, online enrollment grows to more than 5,500 students.

Edna V. Baehre, Ph.D., HACC president, 1997-2010




The 2000:

The Rose Lehrman Arts Center marks its 25th anniversary with a performance by the Martha Graham Dance Company.


The Community Center for Technology and Arts (now known as Midtown 1) opens at Fourth and Reily streets in Harrisburg.

Welding and machining programs are housed in Midtown 1, which is currently one of the two buildings of the Midtown Trade and Technology Center.



The Lancaster Campus moves to its current site on Old Philadelphia Pike in East Lampeter Township with 1,603 students enrolled in credit courses.

Main building of the Lancaster Campus


The Gettysburg Campus establishes its nursing program in the facility designated as the Gettysburg Hospital Wellspan Health Care Learning Center. In January 2013, the first nursing class meets.


Penn Center in Harrisburg (formerly Polyclinic Hospital) opens and temporarily houses the College’s nursing and allied health programs. Later, many of the College’s administrative services are housed at Penn Center.


HACC extends outreach into York County and offers classes at Dallastown Area and West York Senior high schools. These efforts drive HACC to open the York Center and enroll 250 students in the first semester.


Harrisburg Area Community College becomes HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College.


Students in the first nursing class at the Gettysburg Campus

HACC marks its 40th anniversary with 16,109 students enrolled.


HACC’s Lancaster Campus opens the East building in response to increased enrollment. In August, 2,970 students attend the campus.


The College extends its successful distance learning program to include videos and use of the Internet.


HACC’s York Campus

York Center moves to 2010 Pennsylvania Ave. and enrolls 929 students.


Harrisburg Campus opens the Select Medical Health Education Pavilion which houses the rapidly growing Health Careers programs.



The York Center is recognized as a campus by the Pennsylvania Department of Education with a total fall enrollment of 1,831 students.


HACC opens the Midtown 2 site, which is part of the Midtown Trade and Technology Center. Formerly, it was the Evangelical Press Building, located at Third and Reily streets in Harrisburg. Midtown 2 houses several technology and trade programs, including engineering, building construction technology, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC).


The Gettysburg Campus completes a multimillion-dollar, award-winning expansion.






HACC houses administrative services, including the Office of the President, at Campus Square in Harrisburg’s Midtown.


The Sen. John J. Shumaker Public Safety Center undergoes a multimillion-dollar renovation.


On Oct. 21, John J. “Ski” Sygielski, Ed.D., is inaugurated as the seventh president of HACC. Dr. Ski subsequently oversees renovations to the Ted Lick Administration Building and Sen. John J. Shumaker Public Safety Center, reorganization of the College and purchase of the properties of the Lancaster and York campuses.



HACC’s long history of intramural sports teams reaches a major benchmark as its athletics program joins the National Junior College Athletic Association, Region 19 and establishes the College’s first Sports Hall of Fame.

HACC’s teams include: men’s basketball, women’s basketball, women’s volleyball, soccer, golf and cross country.

Women’s volleyball players

Men’s basketball players



According to Community College Week’s annual analysis of United States Department of Education data, HACC ranks 60th in the nation in the number of associate degrees awarded.

HACC nears its 50th anniversary with a fall enrollment of 21,945 students. 2013:

Virtual Learning offers 10 fully online degree programs including: Business Administration, Business Management, Communications, Business Studies, Philosophy, General Studies, Social Sciences, Marketing, Technology Studies (degree and certificate) and Health Science.









HACC’s Center for Global Education plans a variety of instructor-led international courses around the world, including Argentina, Canada, China, Costa Rica, England Guatemala, Haiti, Italy, Peru, Romania, Spain and Turkey.







Courses involving adult learning, workforce development and the Sen. John J. Shumaker Public Safety Center enroll more than 30,000 students, reaching a total of 391,966 noncredit students over the last 50 years.

arrisburg Lancaster Leban on Yo sburg H Getty rk



HACC celebrates a significant milestone – 50 years of education. Events such as Dr. Ski’s Miles of Gratitude - Tour de HACC, ReDISCOVER HACC and the Golden Anniversary Gala are held across the campuses to engage the community, award scholarships, highlight HACC students and more.


The College announces four renowned individuals to serve as the honorary co-chairs for the 50th anniversary, including: Dorothy Byrne, an internationally acclaimed opera singer; Pedro Cortés, a former secretary of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania; Velma Redmond, vice president, general counsel and secretary of Pennsylvania American Water; and Peter C. Wambach, retired Pennsylvania state representative, to support the College in its efforts to recognize the significant milestone through public events, fundraising and more.


HACC launches a new brand, YOURS., to increase awareness of the oldest community college and engage prospective students.

In 2014, the College’s enrollment is approximately 21,000 students. 23

Dear HACC Community,

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, with special events and activities during 2014, I want to share reflections on my association with the Commonwealth’s first and largest community college. Over the past 20 years, I have had the pleasure of building strong relationships with students, alumni, faculty, staff and administration. The benefits I have received during this time are far greater than anything I could have ever imagined.

Timothy Sandoe, HACC Board of Trustees chair

HACC students continue to inspire me with their dreams, ambitions and unique perspective. I feel fortunate to be able to see students grow during their educational journey and hear their many stories about the opportunities they have received through their HACC experience. My most gratifying moments are when I see them at graduation, filled with a sense of accomplishment and full of possibilities. Our highly educated, skilled employees continue to impress me with their hard work in all areas of the College and their dedication to meeting the ever-changing needs of our students and the community. HACC employees combine the benefits of rapidly evolving modern technology and traditional face-to-face interaction for educational experiences that define HACC as a leader among its peers. As chair of the HACC Board of Trustees, I am proud to serve this dynamic institution. I look forward to the influence our graduates will continue to have over the next 50 years as we create opportunities and transform lives to shape the future – TOGETHER. Best wishes,

Timothy L. Sandoe

Chair, Board of Trustees HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College




hacc.edu 800-ABC-HACC


Gettysburg Harrisburg Lancaster Lebanon York Virtual Learning 800-ABC-HACC ter Lebanon York Virtual Learning 800-ABC-HACC HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, in full accordance with the law, does not discriminate in employment, student admissions, and student services on the basis of race, color, religion, age, political affiliation or belief, sex, national origin, ancestry, disability, place of birth, General Education Development Certification (GED), marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, veteran status or any other legally protected classification. HACC recognizes its responsibility to promote the principles of equal opportunity for employment, student admissions, and student services taking active steps to recruit minorities and women. Inquiries should be directed to the Assistant to the President/College Diversity Officer, One HACC Drive, Harrisburg, PA 17110, telephone 717-736-4100. Š2014 - A1251C

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50 Years of HACC History Online Book  

50 Years of HACC History Online Book  

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