History

Corning Community College has grown exponentially from its humble beginnings. As we continue to grow, our focus remains on helping students of all backgrounds succeed, in their education and in life.

Under the sponsorship of the Corning-Painted Post School District, Corning Community College opened its doors in September 1958 with eight faculty members and a student body of 118. The new college was led by 32-year-old Dr. William Lee Perry and started in a Corning School District building on Chemung Street in Corning, NY.

By 1960, the College enrollment increased to 350 full-time students and 260 part-time students, with the number of faculty doubling to 16. The College continued to grow and began looking for a permanent home. 

In October 1960, thanks to a generous gift of land by Arthur A. Houghton Jr. and $2,250,000 donation from Corning Glass Works Foundation, the College began construction of a new campus on Spencer Hill.  Dr. Perry spearheaded the planning, design, and construction of the College on Spencer Hill, and classes began on the hill the fall of 1963. The campus was formally dedicated in May 1964, and it received its first Middle States accreditation in June of that year.

When Dr. Perry left in June 1966, full-time faculty had grown to 70, with the College organized into six academic divisions.  Dr. Robert W. Frederick, Jr. became CCC’s second president in July 1966. The College celebrated its 10th birthday in 1968 with a graduating class of 524—nearly 10 times the size of the first graduating class in 1960. In 1970, the College added the Nursing Building, increasing classroom capacity by 25 percent. Then in 1971, a new maintenance building helped increase classroom space by moving maintenance staff out of the academic buildings.

When Dr. Frederick left the Presidency in 1975, the number of full-time faculty had risen to 84, and the College had expanded to eight academic divisions. Also, the Goff Road building had been added to the College’s facilities. When Dr. Donald Hangen accepted the position as CCC’s third president, the student body had grown to 1,952 full-time and 832 part-time students.

Dr. Hangen served the College as president until 1994. His administration saw the addition of the Learning Resource Center, the Business Development Center, and the Eileen Collins Observatory. In 1993, the College had 1,717 full-time students and soared to 2,221 part-time students. The combined full- and part-time students accounted for the greatest number of credit hours taught in the College’s history. It was also the second year that part-time headcount would exceed full-time headcount, a trend that has remained consistent to the present time.

A critical change in CCC’s operation occurred in the middle of the Hangen administration as the Corning-Painted Post School District became unable to support the College, and the College developed into the first regional community college in New York. Unlike other New York community colleges, Corning receives funding from Steuben, Chemung, and Schuyler counties through a chargeback system that provides revenue based on the number of students from each county. Under this system the College continues to prosper.

When President Hangen retired in 1994, the College had already begun to see a decline in enrollments that would continue into the next decade. Dr. Eduardo Marti became the College’s fourth president and would have to face the College’s first extended period of declining student numbers—a challenge for an institution whose revenues were strictly tied to enrollment. By the time Dr. Marti left in 2000, the College had added the Airport Corporate Park facility, housing automotive and machine tool technology programs, as well as the Planetarium. Overall enrollment numbers were down approximately 13 percent from their high in 1993.

Dr. Floyd “Bud” Amann became CCC’s fifth president in May 2001. In the fall of 2009, the College saw enrollments of 2,559 full-time and 3,113 part-time students, a far cry from the 118 students in 1958.  The College also saw tremendous growth in its off-campus enrollments, including a near doubling of students in its high school concurrent enrollment program.

In August 2007, the Academic and Workforce Development Center in Elmira opened its doors to address the need for skilled employees; to attract new jobs to the region; and, to assist the success of entrepreneurs and established businesses. The Center has exceeded all expectations and is now home to over 800 students.

During the summer of 2011, CCC welcomed Dr. Katherine “Kate” Douglas, the College’s sixth President. Faced with flat enrollment, competitive demands on revenues, and a challenging economic climate, Dr. Douglas’ charge was clear: re-invigorate the College on Hill. During her first year in office the entire campus community engaged in a deliberative examination of CCC’s mission, vision and values. Dr. Douglas’s inauguration ceremony was held in April 2012, and, shortly thereafter, the College kicked-off its most recent Strategic Planning effort to focus on the College’s strengths and move the institution forward.

Also in 2012, following two years of careful study, CCC’s Regional Board of Trustees unanimously approved student housing on the hill, and construction of the three-story residence hall began with a ground-breaking ceremony in April. The $17.7 million building initiative was underwritten by the Corning Community College Development Foundation using no public funds. In March 2013, CCC’s Regional Board of Trustees voted to honor Dr. William Lee Perry, founding president of Corning Community College, by placing his name upon the new residence hall. Perry Hall is scheduled for completion in August 2013—welcoming our first residential students in fall 2013—nearly 50 years to the day from when President Perry oversaw classes being delivered on the hill.  

In January 2013, bringing closure to a facilities planning process begun in 2007, CCC’s Regional Board of Trustees approved a renovation and renewal plan for the Spencer Hill Campus. The plan includes renovations and an addition to the Arthur A. Houghton, Jr. Library, the Student Commons building, and the Gymnasium along with construction of a new turf field. The Facilities Master Plan estimates the total cost for these various projects to be $20.7 million.  

All of us at CCC recognize, embrace, and celebrate the changing future we are creating together for our students and our communities. We are building a socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable academic enterprise dedicated to transforming the lives of our students, strengthening our communities, and inspiring success that lasts a lifetime. 

Corning Community College remains a strong and vibrant institution dedicated to serving the educational and cultural needs of our students and our surrounding communities. Under the leadership of Dr. Katherine Douglas, CCC will certainly continue to serve those needs into the future with pride and commitment to its mission.