In 1965, Hopkinsville Community College opened its doors. There were 220 students who walked into class on the first of September, served by 10 faculty and six staff, all in the College’s single, distinctively bright-blue building. In a way, they were seeds planted in Christian County’s fertile soil. From a current Hopkinsville student’s perspective, those seem like meager circumstances indeed. However, unsurprisingly, Hopkinsville students, faculty, and staff excelled.
Just two years later, students established an honor society (the Alpha Delta chapter of Phi Theta Kappa), a student-published literary magazine (The Round Table), a campus newspaper (Community College Chronicle), and a number of other academic and technical clubs. During these early years, Hopkinsville faculty began the decades-long tradition of offering free classical music concerts and theatrical productions to the community.
HCC's mutually beneficial affiliation with the Army is almost as old as the college itself. In 1972, the College joined seven other regional universities to serve active duty military stationed on Fort Campbell as a part of Eagle University. Expansion to Fort Campbell constituted the college’s second service location.
Under the tutelage of long-time president Dr. Thomas L. Riley, within a quarter century HCC had three buildings and offered classes serving students in twenty diverse fields, from agriculture to nursing, to forestry and secretarial work. Students could complete courses via television, or on the Fort Campbell or Hopkinsville Campuses. With the installation of our first computer lab in 1983, students could complete degrees in the quickly-growing fields of Data Processing and Management Technology, continuing the college’s dedication to providing access to cutting-edge technology for the community.
Beginning his tenure in 1989, Dr. A. James Kerley led the college during an especially fruitful period of growth. The College’s Auditorium Building was completed, increasing to four the number of buildings for our burgeoning student body. With the guidance of community, business, and technology leaders from throughout the Pennyrile, College employees and supporters began the long process of lobbying for a regional technology center. Their labors paid off in 1992 when the building and a portion of the funding were approved.
The college continued its dedication to improving the larger community, as well. Through Student Support Services, the College For Living program (educating developmentally-delayed adults), the News & Views student newspaper, the HCC Speech Team, the KICCS (Kids In College Can Soar), and Let’s CHILL (Children of Higher Intelligence Listening and Learning) programs for area youth, and the Hopkinsville Films series, the college has continued its dedication to enriching the lives of students and the broader community.
Carl D. Burnett became interim president in 1998 following Dr. Kerley’s departure for Lexington Community College. During his short tenure, the college transferred a number of programs from Madisonville Community College. The transfer included certificate and diploma programs in the following areas: Agricultural Technology, Computer-Aided Drafting, Electrical and Electronic Technology, Industrial Automation Technology, Machine Tool Technology, Manufacturing Systems Technology, and Quality Assurance Technology. In 2000 and at the same time we were designated the first fully comprehensive community college in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, HCC named its third president, Dr. Bonnie Rogers.
During Dr. Rogers’ five-year tenure, the college added degree programs in Networking, Information Technology, and Practical Nursing, and continued its dedication to enriching the community through the Religion and Philosophy Club’s newly-created Speaker’s Series. By 2004, the college’s graduating classes had outgrown all on-campus venues for commencement ceremonies and moved to the James E. Bruce Convention Center. The college entered partnerships with Murray State University and Trevecca Nazarene University to offer degrees on the Hopkinsville campus and at the West Regional Postsecondary Education Center.
On Dr. Rogers’ retirement in 2005, Dr. James Selbe served as interim until he was named the college’s fourth president in early 2006. In the years since his ascension to the college’s chief executive office, Dr. Selbe has overseen record enrollment at our Hopkinsville and Fort Campbell locations and also at each of our other locations in Christian, Todd, Caldwell, and Trigg counties. During his tenure thus far, the college has begun a Rotary Scholars program in Christian County, making it easier for high school students to continue to higher education. The college expanded its KICCS program to serve children in Trigg County, served a number of high school students in its Upward Bound program, and hosted nationally and internationally-recognized speakers on several occasions.
In 2013 President Selbe was re-assigned to the KCTCS System Office. Dr. Patrick Lake was appointed as HCC's interim president. Dr. Lake has a long history with KCTCS and has held leadership roles at several colleges within the system. He served as president of Henderson Community College for 25 years before retiring from the position in December 2010. Recently Dr. Lake served as interim president at Ashland Community and Technical College from July 1- August 31, 2012. Earlier in his career Dr. Lake served as interim president of the former Owensboro Community College and dean of academic affairs for the former Jefferson Community College.
As we look forward to our forty-fifth anniversary, our future is as bright as that of the students we teach. From our humble beginnings, through changing times, and into the 21st century,