Editorial: Celebrating 25 years of the ‘community’s college’

Carroll Community College President Dr. James Ball and President Emeritus Dr. Faye Pappalardo talk during an interview at the college in Westminster on Thursday, September 20, 2018.  Carroll Community College prepares to celebrate it's 25th anniversary.

“The community’s college” is how President James Ball described Carroll Community College to us when discussing its celebration of 25 years as an independent college this year.

It was in 1993 that the Maryland Higher Education Commission approved Carroll as an independent college, after more than a decade operating as a branch of Catonsville Community College.


Since then, the college grew quickly, adding the Random House Library building, the Scott Center for Fine and Performing Arts, the Business Training Center and Life Fitness buildings, the Nursing and Allied Health buildings, and the K Building for additional classroom space. And with those expansions have come an increased offering of programs.

Carroll offers degrees in business, computer technology, creative arts, education, health care professions, health and exercise science, humanities and communication, social sciences, health and STEM sciences, as well as customized degree programs for students who may be looking to transfer to a four-year college after obtaining their associate’s degree.

In recent years, the college has seen significant growth of its cyber security program, the launch of an entertainment technology program and is preparing to start a digital fabrication program. Some of those technology programs will be showcased at the college’s “Super Open House” from 6 to 8 p.m. today, at the Babylon Great Hall.

Carroll has done well to keep tuition affordable. The yearly tuition for a full credit load is less than half of what it would cost to attend school at University of Maryland, College Park; Towson University, UMBC or many other state colleges in Maryland.

The college also offers numerous noncredit courses in career and professional development, from animal control, to child care, to hospitality and tourism, real estate, trades and information technology to name just a few, including many certification programs. And for adults who just want to expand their knowledge base or broaden their horizons creatively, there are plenty of personal enrichment courses available too.

Four-year universities aren’t for everyone. Community colleges, like Carroll, give students who may not be interested in continuing education after high school an opportunity to see what their options are, whether that’s earning an associate’s degree, getting additional certifications after entering the workforce or otherwise finding what they want to do with the rest of their life. Several former and current students we spoke with were initially skeptical, but ultimately loved their experience at Carroll.

But class offerings at the college are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what it brings to the community. Carroll also offers services for businesses large and small, , a resource for entrepreneurs and small business owners looking for help starting and growing their companies.

Coming in fall 2019, the college will begin offering intercollegiate athletics for the first time, with men’s and women’s cross country and men’s and women’s soccer teams. Today, the college will unveil its new mascot, the Lynx, at 12:15 p.m. in the café. Community members will also have a chance to meet the coaches, the athletic director and the athletic trainer at tonight’s “Super Open House.”

None of this begins to mention the numerous events and community gatherings hosted at the college each year, from the Random House Book Fair to important public meetings.

While the educators and administrators at the college are taking time to celebrate a quarter-century of growth and successes this year, it’s good to know they are continuing to look forward and how the college can continue to serve Carroll’s residents. It truly is the “community’s college.”

Congratulations are in order to Carroll Community College for its 25 years of contributions to our community and its residents. Here’s to 25 more.