CCC History

Paul B. Sharar

The history of Clinton Community College covers 75 years.  In March 1946, a public referendum was presented to the citizens of Clinton. The answer was a resounding "yes" and on September 9 of that year, Clinton Junior College officially opened its doors.
Housed in the Clinton High School building, more than half of the first class of 86 students were World War II veterans having recently returned home from the war. The college continued to grow through the years and eventually outgrew its shared quarters at the high school.  It proudly moved into a new building on September 6, 1965, with an enrollment of 555 day students. The college is still located in that building at 1000 Lincoln Boulevard in Clinton but many changes have occurred in the past 51years.
One of those changes came in 1966 when the name was changed to Clinton Community College and it became a part of the Eastern Iowa Community College District, which also includes Scott and Muscatine Community Colleges. The college continues to be a part of that district today.
Original Clinton Community College buildingThe college's main campus has also experienced changes with major structural additions. In 1995 the college opened the Graphic Arts Technology Center of Iowa, now the CCC Technology Center, on Manufacturing Drive in Clinton, approximately one mile from the main campus. The Center was constructed through a unique partnership of education, business and government with funding coming from all three entities.  The 22,000 square-foot facility is a unique training facility and technology resource for the graphic arts industry.  In 2007, the Adult Basic Education and Community Education programs relocated to a new building, the CCC Learning Center, located at 944 Lincoln Boulevard.  This space offers flexibility in classroom scheduling and functionality.  2010 welcomed students to the science addition which houses two state-of-the-art labs plus a larger prep room and faculty offices.  Today high definition classrooms and lecture halls feature up-to-the-minute technology and configurations that enhances the student’s experience.

In 2014, the family of Bob and Frances Bickelhaupt donated their arboretum, established in 1970, to Clinton Community College.  This generous gift – the Bickelhaupt Arboretum - is a living classroom, a community gem, where people of all ages gather to explore nature.  Programs such as “No Child Left Inside” introduce area children to the joy of this outdoor treasure.  

Original college libraryThe Library Enhancement Project was completed in 2016, creating a library that better meets the needs of CCC students and the changing needs of the greater Clinton community.  Renovations to the final CCC Lecture Hall were completed in 2018, thanks to grants from the Clinton County Development Association and matches from the CCC B-rrry Scurry.   The lecture halls have improved seating for collaborative learning, flexible lighting, sound systems, and state-of-the-art technology.  These renovations and enhancements are made to improve teaching and learning at CCC.  
Clinton Community College's activities stretch beyond the city limits of Clinton to include most of Clinton and Jackson Counties. Through a cooperative agreement, the college offers credit and non-credit classes to that community at the CCC Maquoketa Center which opened in the summer of 2009.  Similar arrangements with other school districts allow the college to offer classes in Camanche, DeWitt, Bellevue, Preston, Goose Lake and many other area communities.
Student in graphic arts programAs a comprehensive community college, Clinton Community College offers much more than college credit coursework. The college's various non-credit departments provide Community Education classes, Adult Education classes and Business and Industry training. Thousands of area residents annually take advantage of these educational opportunities.
The first dean of the college was Paul B. Sharar and the college's foundation bears his name.  As his son Paul H. Sharar recalls, his father “had a vision of education as the way people learn to live more useful lives for themselves and for their fellow citizens so they feel the joy of accomplishment above and beyond the common-place that might have been.”

Dr. Karen Vickers led Clinton Community College for 23 years, becoming President in 1996.  Under her leadership, the college added new technologies such as the state-of-the-art Virtual and Nursing Labs, and extended the use of technology. Admissions agreements allow students to make a smooth transition upon completion of their CCC program. Partnerships continue throughout the Clinton area and include communities such as DeWitt, Calamus/Wheatland and Bellevue. These teaching and learning improvements are evident to students with enrollment increases throughout the years.  

In 2020, Dr. Brian Kelly became the new CCC President. Dr. Kelly brings a background filled with multiple talents and worldwide experiences which will enhance the college, our programs, and CCC students. During his tenure, the $40 million EICC bond referendum was approved by 88% of the voters, and new CCC Career & Technical Education Centers will host Career Academies in Clinton and DeWitt, with expansion of offerings in Maquoketa.  Dr. Kelly is committed to lifelong learning which began with Dean Paul B. Sharar in 1946. 

Clinton Community College is truly THE Community’s College!