Dr. Kathleen Hetherington, president of Howard Community College (HCC), has dedicated her career in higher education to advancing the mission of community colleges. With more than 40 years of progressively responsible community college leadership experience, Dr. Hetherington is the fourth president of Howard Community College (HCC) and the first to be a community college graduate.
Dr. Hetherington has served as president of HCC since 2007, leading an institution nationally recognized for its strong academic programs and innovative approaches to instruction. Under her leadership, Howard Community College has grown to almost 30,000 credit and noncredit students, a 16.8 percent increase since 2007. Supporting this enrollment growth has resulted in more than $263 million in college facilities construction and improvements, including building renovations, parking garages, a health sciences building, and a new science, engineering, and technology building that opened in 2017.
With her student-centered approach to leadership, she has revamped the college strategic planning process, added academic programs in high-demand fields, and focused on increasing degree completion and transfer to four-year colleges and universities. Over the last seven years, the college’s graduation rate increased a record 84 percent—compared with a 34 percent average among all of Maryland’s 16 community colleges.
Calling Howard Community College “one of the stars,” First Lady Michelle Obama emphasized the important work taking place at the college to ensure students have an affordable education that leads to successful employment upon graduation.
Well respected by her peers in higher education, the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) named Dr. Hetherington as its recipient of the 2014 Chief Executive Officer Award, which recognizes the outstanding contributions and leadership of a community college president. The Daily Record recognized Dr. Hetherington three times as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women and named her to the Circle of Excellence. She also was recently recognized by The Daily Record with its 2018 Influential Marylander Award.
During her tenure as president, Howard Community College has achieved recognition as a “Great College to Work For” from The Chronicle of Higher Education for ten consecutive years. HCC is the only community college in Maryland—and one of only two community colleges in the nation—to have achieved this record status.
Dr. Hetherington maintains strong ties to the community and strives to enhance the college’s partnerships with area businesses, organizations, and nonprofits. She serves on the board of the Howard County Chamber of Commerce and the Howard County Economic Development Authority. Dr. Hetherington also serves on the Greater Baltimore Committee advisory committee on education and workforce and the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore board of directors. She is past president of the Maryland Council of Community College Presidents.
Nationally, Dr. Hetherington is a member of numerous national boards, commissions, and committees. She serves on the American Association of Community Colleges’ Commission on Public Relations Advocacy and Advancement. Dr. Hetherington is also a member of the board of directors for Community Colleges for International Development and Chair Academy. She serves as a commissioner on the Education Commission of the States
Prior to her presidency, Dr. Hetherington served HCC as the executive vice president, capital campaign manager, and vice president of student services. Before joining HCC, she held progressively responsible positions at the Community College of Philadelphia, including dean of student systems. She was an adjunct professor at Delaware County Community College in Pennsylvania.
Dr. Hetherington holds an Ed.D. from Widener University, a M.S. from Villanova University, a B.S.S. from Pennsylvania State University, and an A.A.S. from the Community College of Philadelphia.