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Howard Community College Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Malcolm Baldrige Award-Winning Institution to Mark Milestone with Series of Events
50th Anniversary Logo

COLUMBIA, MD – Howard Community College (HCC) joined with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community leaders to commemorate its legacy of 50 years as a premier higher-education institution in Howard County. The anniversary celebration began on Monday and will continue into 2021 with a series of lectures, events, and opportunities for the college and Howard County residents to connect.

“This momentous milestone marks half a century of providing pathways to success for our students,” said Dr. Kate Hetherington, president of HCC. “As we reflect on our history and look toward the future, I am confident we will continue to grow, adapt, and excel at helping our students reach their fullest potential. I sincerely believe our best is yet to come.”

HCC was the first community college to open with a dedicated campus location in Maryland. Surrounded by farmland, rolling hills, and roaming cows, HCC opened its doors on October 12, 1970, with just under 600 students. The one-building campus housed the college’s classrooms, offices, labs, library, and cafeteria.

Today, HCC’s state-of-the-art campus has 13 buildings, including a visual and performing arts center and a science, engineering, and technology building, and serves a diverse student body of more than 26,000. Reflecting the greater Howard County community, HCC students are a broad range of ages, races, ethnicities, and educational backgrounds, including members of the military, veterans, and international students. More than 110 countries are represented in the student body.

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball and the Howard County Council announced that proclamations recognizing HCC’s 50th anniversary and its contributions to the county’s quality of life would be placed into the county record.

"Since 1970, Howard Community College has opened the door of opportunity for so many students seeking higher education," said County Executive Ball. "We're so grateful to have such an incredible institution here in Howard County, creating ready and successful students for generations and making education affordable, accessible, and personal. Congratulations to all of the wonderful faculty, staff, students, and trustees at HCC on this milestone."

“I am grateful for this excellent and fundamental educational resource right in the heart of Columbia,” said Howard County Council Chair Deb Jung. “Happy 50th anniversary to HCC, which provides a supportive environment to so many in the community, from summer campers, including my daughter, and dual enrollment high schoolers to traditional scholars and enrichment learners. Keep up the great work, President Kathleen Hetherington and HCC's faculty, staff, and trustees.”

Despite the many challenges of 2020, including a global coronavirus pandemic, HCC continues to deliver a high-quality education to its students during the fall semester, with classes offered in scheduled remote, flexible online, and hybrid formats.

HCC has been recognized regionally and nationally for excellence in education and innovation. In 2019, HCC received the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in education, the nation’s presidential-level honor for performance excellence in organizations. HCC is only the third community college to receive the award. HCC also has been recognized for 12 consecutive years as a Great College to Work For, the only community college to achieve this honor every year that community colleges have been eligible.

“HCC continually evolves to meet the needs of its students and to provide new opportunities for academic and personal growth,” said Felícita Solá-Carter, chair of the Howard Community College Board of Trustees. “It is an honor to serve an organization so remarkably dedicated to student success, and I look forward to the exciting future ahead.”

For more information on HCC’s 50th anniversary celebration, including a calendar of events, visit

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