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HJC changing name, not mission

June 29, 1998|By DAVE McMILLION

Hagerstown community college

Margaret McBurney stopped by the Hagerstown Junior College bookstore last week to pick up a piece of history.

Customers have been snapping up shirts, coffee mugs, pens and other merchandise bearing the HJC name. On Wednesday, the school will become Hagerstown Community College.

Many of them bought the items as mementos of the old name, said Sharon Smith, assistant manager of the bookstore.

"It's going to take forever for me to start calling it HCC," McBurney, who works in a welfare-to-work program at the college, said Friday.

For others, the change is no big deal.

Second-year student Shawn Derby said it will be the same school no matter what it's called.

Student Fran Russ said she can't recall any in-depth discussions about the name change.

"I've never really given it a second thought," Russ said.

College officials decided to change the college's name this year to more accurately describe its mission.

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The school opened in 1946, mostly as a transfer college for GIs returning after World War II.

The school offers continuing education classes, work-force development programs and innovative, computerized business courses. About 200 people were initially enrolled. Today about 3,000 credit students and 5,000 non-credit students attend the school.

And the school continues to grow.

Beside the student center building, construction crews are clearing ground for a multi-million Learning Resource Center, which is expected to be the centerpiece of the college.

The three-story building will include a new library, up to 75 computers, a distance learning center, graphics lab and a TV and radio studio, making it one of the most advanced facilities of its kind in the state, school officials said.

"We just think this is a better reflection of who we are and where we want to go," college President Norman Shea said of the name change.

Shea said switching the name of the school is not expected to cost more than a few thousand dollars.

Letterhead bearing the old name will be used until it is gone, Shea said.

Hagerstown Junior College still graces the sign at the front entrance along Robinwood Drive, but that will change in August, said Shea.

A new electronic sign to be erected that will display up-to-the-minute messages to passers-by. The messages for the sign will be typed into a computer in the administration office, Shea said.

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