In March, 1946, a public referendum asked the citizens of Clinton whether or not they
wished to establish a two-year college. The answer to that question was a resounding
"yes" and on September 9 of that year, Clinton Junior College officially opened its
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 students. The college is still located at 1000 Lincoln Boulevard in Clinton but many changes have occurred over the years.
The college was housed in the Clinton High School building for 19 years and operated as a division of the Clinton public school system. College enrollments soon tripled and by 1964 there were 330 students enrolled. When the college opened the doors of its new building on September 6, 1965, enrollment reached 555 students. Total registration during the first 25 years was more than 4,000. During the school year 1965-66, the name was changed to Clinton Community College and in July of 1966, the college became a part of the Eastern Iowa Community College District.
The first dean of the college was Paul B. Sharar and the college's foundation now bears his name.
"Dean Sharar had a vision that the community college should be comprehensive and open
to all people who want to improve their skills and expand their horizons," reminisced
a former faculty member. "If it had not been for Paul Sharar's enthusiasm and initiative
as a driving force in the Clinton community, the college would not be the type of
institution it is today with its broad range of offerings."
Sharar spearheaded the drive to construct a new college building and worked hard to obtain federal matching funds for the construction. A bond issue to support the building construction passed with a 94 percent favorable vote.
Following Sharar's retirement in 1967, Dean F. Travis was appointed dean of Clinton Community College, a position he held for 10 years. As teacher and administrator, Dean Travis gave 27 years of service to the college.
His first association began in 1951 when he taught both high school and junior college students. In 1965 he became a full-time faculty member in the speech department of the college. Then in 1967 he was named acting dean, and a year later was appointed to the position of dean. His title was changed to president in 1976. Under Dean Travis's leadership, the college increased its enrollment, added new programs, doubled its facilities with a new addition in 1974, and gained North Central Accreditation.
After Travis left, William Applegate served as president during the academic year, 1978-79. After Applegate accepted a position in California, Dr. Charles Spence joined the college in January 1980.
Under Dr. Spence's leadership, the college enlarged its mission and sought out a partnership with diverse groups in the community. He emphasized "community" in Clinton Community College. Some of that community spirit was reflected in the development of the college's two courtyards. The first project, completed in 1980, was accomplished through gifts from W. Atlee Burpee Co. and the Pearson Foundation. The second project, dedicated in 1984, was landscaped with funds donated by Roscoe Wagner and Nabisco Brands, Inc.
Dr. Spence was followed by Dr. Bert Purga in October of 1985. During Dr. Purga's time
the college greatly expanded its offerings in Maquoketa, established a Business and
Industry Center, developed articulation and cooperative agreements with many four-year
colleges, and established new programs in printing and hazardous materials technology.
Dr. Desna Wallin accepted the presidency in October 1989 and was extremely involved in community organizations and activities. Her greatest achievement at the college was probably construction of the Graphic Arts Technology Center of Iowa. The Center was constructed through a unique partnership of education, business and government with funding coming from all three entities. The center was opened March 3, 1994, and houses the college's Graphic Design program, Mechatronics program, and the college's Business and Industry Center. Dr. Wallin left to assume the presidency at Forsyth Technical Community College in North Carolina.
Today Karen Vickers leads Clinton Community College having held many positions including Dean of the College and Interim President prior to becoming President in 1996. The college has added new technologies such as the state-of-the-art Virtual and Nursing Labs, and has extended the use of technology into the library and onto each desk top. Joint admissions agreements allow students to make a smooth transition upon completion of their CCC program. Partnerships continue throughout the Clinton area and have expanded to include communities such as DeWitt, Calamus/Wheatland and Bellevue. These improvements are evident to students with enrollment increases during the past five years reaching record levels.
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. Spring semester 2010 welcomed students to the science addition which houses two state-of-the-art labs plus a larger prep room and faculty offices.
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.
The 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 with the City of Maquoketa and the Maquoketa School District, 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.
As a comprehensive community college, CCC 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.
Clinton Community College is truly a college for the community!