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HCC has come a long way since the 1940s

September 02, 2013

Hagerstown Community College’s slogan, “Stay Close, Go far” might apply to the school itself. It has remained true to its mission of serving Washington County and environs, while going farther than anyone sitting in one of its sparse classrooms a half century ago could have ever imagined.

To see the modern campus today, it is difficult to believe that as recently as 1966, the school operated out of a building at South Hagerstown High wryly known as the “crackerbox.”

Now, for those who would enjoy an in-depth look at how the school has risen from humble beginnings to what it is today, there is a new book, “The Community’s College: The Remarkable Journey of Hagerstown Community College 1946-2012.”

In it, author Diane Weaver — a former HCC professor, coordinator and adviser — details the success story of a school and community working together to build an institution that is the envy of the state.

This is an important link of which to take note. HCC proves that this community does have the ability, motivation and talent to create something special. Should we ever doubt our ability to succeed, HCC should put the issue to rest.

“There’s an interdependency between the community and the college, such that it is very hard to imagine one without the other,” Weaver said. “They work together so well, the community supporting the college, and certainly the college supporting the community.”

HCC has been blessed with excellent presidents, boards, supporters, and of course students, whose stories are told in “The Community’s College.”

And while the community has been there for the school, the school has been there for the community. During the recent recession it was retraining those who suddenly found themselves, mid-career, in need of a new set of skills. As our power-generating needs and values have changed, HCC is ahead of the curve, providing comprehensive instruction in alternative energy sources. It is hard to imagine that any school in the state does a better job of looking into the future and seeing what skills will be relevant in the years ahead.

We congratulate HCC, and we congratulate Weaver for this valuable work, which is sure to become required reading for anyone who wishes to get a true grasp on all that is good in Washington County.

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