Established February 14, 1964, as the first community college in Pennsylvania, HACC welcomed its first class of 426 students on September 21 of the same year. In seeking to fulfill its mission of “providing educational and cultural opportunities to the community it serves,” HACC has become one of the largest undergraduate colleges in Pennsylvania, with nearly 20,000 students enrolling in credit programs and courses each semester.
When HACC opened in 1964, the College was housed at the former Harrisburg Academy site on Front Street (now the site of Dixon University Center). In 1965, when Hershey Junior College closed, most of the school’s faculty and students joined HACC.
Planning was already underway for a permanent campus for the college. In March 1965, the College purchased a 157-acre tract in Wildwood Park for $1.00. And on April 16, 1966, ground was broken for a $3.5 million building project.
The year 1967 was a milestone in the College’s history with these events:
- HACC became the first Pennsylvania community college to be accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
- McCormick Library, Blocker Hall, and a student center (now Stabler Hall) were completed and the College moved to its new campus.
As enrollment continued to grow, the College added still more buildings:
- Cooper Student Center and Whitaker Hall (1968)
- Evans Physical Education Center (1970)
- Rose Lehrman Arts Center (1975)
- Overholt Bookstore (1977)
- Hall Technology Center (1984)
- Helen Y. Swope Carillon/Clock (1987)
- Public Safety Training Center (1988)—renamed as the Senator John J. Shumaker Public Safety Center (2000)
- Gettysburg and Lancaster Campuses are opened (1989)
Lebanon Campus opened (August 1989) and destroyed by fire three months after the opening Efforts to rebuild the Lebanon Campus began immediately. At the same time, the College was also expanding facilities at the Harrisburg and Gettysburg Campuses:
- North Hall, a new building at the Public Safety Training Center (1991)
- The new Lebanon Campus, Mumma Hall—home to the C. Ted Lick Wildwood Conference Center—and a College Services Center (1992)
- Gettysburg Center moved to new expanded facilities at Old Harrisburg Road, Gettysburg (1997)
- Health care learning center, located adjacent to the campus, now houses the expanded Nursing program and the Gettysburg Campus size was doubled(2002)
- Community Center for Technology and Arts in uptown Harrisburg (Spring 2001)
- Lancaster Campus on Old Philadelphia Pike in East Lamenter Township is opened (Fall 2001)
- East building on the Lancaster Campus is opened (Fall 2004)
Once again in 2003-2004, HACC saw record enrollments; reaching nearly 15,000 degree-seeking students at the four campuses and another 50,000 individuals in workforce development and community education courses. More expansions were necessary to accommodate the new influx of students:
- New location at Penn Center Harrisburg is opened (2003)
- Classes offered in York County (2003)
- York Center opened at 2010 Pennsylvania Ave (Fall 2005)
- York was designated a campus by the State Department of Education (2007)
In 2005, HACC opened the:
- Select Medical Health Education Pavilion on the Harrisburg Campus—a building which houses the rapidly growing Health Careers programs.
- Grace Milliman Pollock Childcare and Early Childhood Education Center on the Harrisburg Campus.
In Fall 2007, HACC's new Midtown site opened at Third and Reilly streets in Harrisburg to house the college’s expanding technology and trade programs. Midtown 2 gives the college room to grow these programs while opening up additional classroom space at the campus across from the State Farm Show Complex. Adding to and modifying its original 16 programs in response to changes in society and the workplace, HACC now has nearly 200 associate degree, certificate and diploma programs. A growing number of Internet courses and study abroad opportunities provide alternatives to classroom instruction.
Today’s noncredit programming includes courses in personal enrichment and lifelong learning, while focusing on public safety training for volunteers and professionals and workforce and employee development training for business, industry, health care, and the human services.
Today, as Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, HACC has many strengths: well-equipped laboratories and studios, modern, well maintained campuses, quality programs and services. HACC's reputation reflects the quality and dedication of its faculty and staff and its commitment to meeting the needs of the communities and students it serves.