Harford Community College, from its humble beginnings in 1957 as part of the Harford County Public Schools system, continues to grow and prosper.
In this, its 60th year, the college has adopted a new slogan and planned a series of events throughout the academic year to mark the milestone.
The college's logo this year is a 60 with the inscription "Our history is only the beginning."
"As HCC celebrates its 60th anniversary as the anchor institution for higher education in Harford County, we honor the foresight of our predecessors who realized back in 1957 the need for higher education in our community," Dr. Dianna G. Phillips, president of Harford Community College, said in an emailed statement Thursday afternoon.
When the college opened its doors in September 1957, it was part of Bel Air High School. There were 119 students, 16 faculty members and tuition was $7 per credit hour, according to a representative of the college.
This September, Harford Community College has nearly 9,000 credit students, more than 10,000 noncredit students, more than 1,000 employees and tuition is $126.48 per credit hour.
Those numbers show how much the college has grown to where it occupies 352 acres on a centrally located campus east of Bel Air and is a long-established major Harford County institution.
"Now more than ever, our faculty, staff, and administration are dedicated to carrying out the mission of the college and ensuring the growth and success of our students and community," Phillips said.
College officials are doing what they can to make the celebration all-inclusive.
"Whether you have earned your degree, taught a class, attended a show, or learned a new skill here, consider yourself a part of our 60th anniversary," the HCC web site says. "If you have attended a concert, a camp, a graduation, or a sporting event, you too are part of it. In fact, the entire community is part of our 60th."
The featured event of the anniversary event is Harford Fest, a daylong series of events and an open house at the college from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28.
It opens with the annual Heather L. Hurd 5K Run/Walk, which this year is a Spooktacular, with registration at 8 a.m and the race at 9.
There will also be a children's area featuring crafts, face painting, a costume contest and trick or treating. An open house will be set up in the APG Federal Credit Union Arena. There will also be performances of "The Little Mermaid," "Harriet's Happiest Halloween" and an oral history documentary of the college in the Chesapeake Theater.
The day finishes with a performance by "Stayin Alive: The Music of the Bee Gees," beginning at 7 in the Amoss Center. Tickets are available at harford.tickets.edu.
Next up on the calendar of celebratory events is a 1957 Tea scheduled for two sessions – Sept. 28 and Oct. 5 – from 12:30 p.m. to 2 at the Hays-Heighe House on campus. The events are being promoted as flashbacks to the 1950s, or at least to some of its well known cultural highlights, including what students were wearing and to what music they were listening.