NCC History

October 1967

The first class of 846 students began its studies under the guidance of President Richard C. Richardson and a 20-member professional staff. Eight career programs, five transfer options, and an individualized development program were offered.



Northampton became one of the first community colleges in the country to establish a foundation to generate financial support to provide students and faculty with opportunities beyond those affordable with public funding.



Northampton earned accreditation from the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.


As the College outgrew the temporary buildings, affectionately called "barracks" or "Quonset huts" on the north side of Green Pond Road, ground was broken for 5 permanent buildings across the street - Founders Hall, Richardson Hall (then called Keystone Hall), the Kiva, Commonwealth Hall, and Penn Hall. The College Center was added in 1972.



Dr. Robert Kopecek became NCC's second president. Highly energetic and entrepreneurial, he led the College for 26 years marked by dramatic growth in academic programs, enrollment, and facilities.



NCC became the first community college in Pennsylvania to offer housing on campus with the construction of student apartments and a residence hall.



Northampton's 20th Anniversary Celebration included a "renewal" of facilities which included renovations to 14 classrooms, construction of 13 new classrooms, and a new Admissions Office. An Automotive Technology wing was added to Commonwealth Hall.



Educational partnerships with local business and industry gave birth to programs such as the Electrotechnology Applications Center and Art as a Way of Learning TM. Communications Hall, Jeanette F. Reibman Hall, and Gates Center complex, including Hampton Winds Restaurant, were completed.



An old garment factory in Tannersville was transformed into The Monroe Center, which has since become a branch campus serving residents from the surrounding area.



The Student Enrollment Center, which houses admissions, financial aid, and the business office, opened on Bethlehem Campus.



Pocono Campus was expanded.



Main Campus renovations continued. A true quad was constructed in the center of the campus.



Dr. Arthur L. Scott became Northampton Community College's third president after a 37-year career at the College. The College attained many stellar achievements during his 9-year tenure.



An NCC education became more accessible to students in urban Southside Bethlehem, with the purchase of a 6-story former Bethlehem Steel office building on East Third Street. Named the Fowler Family Southside Center after philanthropists Marlene (Linny) and Beale Fowler, the Center has become a community hub. Now more than 34,000 people per year take classes there or utilize the workforce development center, the Cops 'n' Kids Reading Room, the dental clinic, the St. Luke's health clinics, the dance studios and demo kitchen, the Northeast Forensic Training Center, meeting rooms, and labs for research and development for manufacturing firms.


The Spartan Center (later named the Arthur L. Scott Spartan Center) opened on the Main Campus. The new athletic venue houses a state-of-the-art fitness center, a student lounge, locker rooms, offices and three gyms which, when combined, can seat more than 2000 people for commencement and other special events.



NCC joined the Achieving the Dream initiative, a national project dedicated to helping more community college students stay in school and earn a college certificate or degree. In 2010 and again in 2014, NCC earned a leader designation for its work in Achieving the Dream.


NCC re-introduced an honors program for high-achieving students.



Ground was broken for what is now called the Susan K. Kubik Tribute Garden. Located between Penn and Commonwealth halls on the Main Campus, this beautiful oasis for studying and reflection includes butterfly and medicinal gardens, a Tribute to the Troops, and plants and pavers that honor special people. Northampton joined the National Junior College Athletic Association. 2011: Ground was broken for NCC's Community Garden, now a 4.5-acre eco-center that is home to honey bees, plots for close to 40 active community gardeners, and a destination for schools and local groups.


2007 and 2012

The National Science Foundation made multi-year grants to NCC. These awards provide science, math, and related technology majors with funds to cover tuition, books and living expenses.



NCC earned a National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant in a highly selective national competition aimed at strengthening the teaching, study and understanding of American history and culture. Matched by gifts from other donors, the grant helped to create an endowment which funds exploration of a different topic each year, bringing speakers such as Doris Kearns Goodwin, Wes Moore, and others to campus.


2009 and 2011

NCC faculty members, Vasiliki Anastasakos and John K. Leiser received statewide recognition as Pennsylvania Professors of the Year.


October 2011

Ground was broken for a new 72-acre campus to provide room for twice as many students in Monroe County.



Dr. Mark Erickson became the College's fourth president, bringing with him an enthusiasm for "the Northampton Way" and a commitment to making Northampton a "place that others point to as 'the example of how things should be done." He also brought a wealth of experience and strong ties to the community, having been president of Wittenberg University for seven years, and, prior to that, a senior staff member at Lehigh University.



NCC was named the "Top Workplace in the Lehigh Valley" among large employers based on employee responses to a survey conducted by the national research firm Workplace Dynamics.


Women's volleyball team finishes fifth in the country in the National Junior College Athletic Association.



NCC's new campus opened in Monroe County. Build to LEED gold standards, the campus features state-of-the-art classrooms and labs, a student center and student services buildings, a futuristic library, a spacious food court, a gymnasium and fitness center, a child care center, meeting rooms for students and the community, and space dedicated to lifelong learning and workforce development.


NCC became one of 150 community colleges, out of more than 1400 nationwide, nominated for the Aspen Prize.


The College received its largest grant ever - $10 million from the U.S. Department of Labor - for collaborative work with Lehigh Carbon and Luzerne County community colleges - to transform workforce training in healthcare, advanced manufacturing and transportation.


The Center for Digital Education rated NCC fourth in the nation among large community colleges in advances in the use of technology.


Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry announced that NCC, the University of Arizona, the University of Rhode Island and the University of North Texas were the first four recipients of a 100,000 Strong in the Americas grant to strengthen international relations and economic development in Latin America and the Caribbean.



Building on a long tradition of serving the community, the College opened a Center for Civic and Community Engagement to deepen that commitment and to empower students to become community problem-solvers throughout their lives.


Northampton was named a "Green Ribbon School," one of only nine colleges and universities in the country so honored for stewardship of the environment and leadership in environmental education.


Aaron Rosengarten was featured in USA Today as one of the top 20 community college students in the country in terms of academic achievement and leadership. He was the top student in Pennsylvania. Two other NCC students - Steven Davanzo and Carla Garis were among 50 community college students nationwide named Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Gold Scholars.



Northampton Community College celebrates its 50th anniversary with a historic celebration attended by faculty, staff, alumni, students, donors and friends. During the evening, the college's launches its largest ever fundraising campaign "Transforming Lives" to raise $17 million for expansion of student scholarships and support of other college priority areas.


NCC is selected as the newest addition to the OSHA Training network, offering training on OSHA standards and occupational safety and health issues to employers throughout the Northeast region.


Spartan slugger Angel Lopez, a member of NCC's standout baseball team, is drafted by the Cleveland Indians, the first NCC player to make it to the majors. The team's catcher, he is also named NJCAA Defensive Player of the Year.



The college opens its new Easton Educational Outreach Center located in the heart of downtown Easton to serve as a valued training and education resource to the area's residents.


Northampton opens its much-awaited multimillion-dollar Follett Family Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Fowler Southside Family Center in Southside Bethlehem. The CIE provides facilities, training and resources to catalyze innovation and foster entrepreneurship for students and community members.


NCC commemorates 30 years of serving area residents at its Pocono Campus with a series of events for faculty, staff, students, special guests and donors.



NCC’s Pocono Campus is designated a “Zero Energy Campus” a distinction held by few campuses and buildings in the United States, cementing the college’s commitment to sustainable operations of the Pocono Campus. (Defined by the U.S. Department of Energy, a Zero Energy Campus is a campus that uses 100% renewable energy.)


The college’s women’s tennis team finishes second in the nation after competing in the NJCAA national championships, the 16th national championship appearance by an NCC athletics team since 2011.



Generating more than $21 million, the college completes its most successful fundraising effort ever, the Transforming Lives campaign, to support student success.


NCC is the only college in the nation to receive a Green Power Leadership Award from the U.S. EPA. The college joined the ranks of Bank of America and Google with this recognition of its environmental efforts, including being the largest community college consumer of green power in the nation.


Graduates of NCC reach a milestone…97% are either in a career or continuing their education, a testament to the power of NCC education.



NCC’s fierce commitment to Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion continues to expand with the completion of its DEI strategic plan and addition of a new vice president of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to lead efforts at the college.


Dr Erickson is named chair of the Pennsylvania Commission of Community Colleges.


U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visits NCC’s Bethlehem campus with U.S. Rep. Susan Wild and PA Secretary of Education Noe Ortega to meet with students and tour the college’s Hartzell Center for Advanced Technology.


The college successfully completes implementation of a new Workday enterprise system that touches every area of the college. The massive undertaking spanned several years and provides the college with the data and technology platforms to excel in the future.


NCC’s endowment reaches $84 million, growing in excess of 250% in value since 2012.



Dr. David A. Ruth is appointed NCC's fifth president on July 1, succeeding Dr. Mark Erickson who retired following a 10 year career at the college.

Next Steps

With 120+ high-quality programs at a highly affordable cost, you can build specialized skills to advance in your career path — fast. And with flexible class formats and convenient locations, it's never been easier to join us.