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Celebrating 30 Years

celebrating 30 years

Pennsylvania Highlands, initially known as Cambria County Area Community College, held its inaugural classes on September 5th, 1994. Three decades later, the College has become an educational cornerstone for over 60,000 community members throughout the region, with its influence continually expanding.

Penn Highlands will be commemorating its 30th Anniversary during the 2024-2025 academic year, marked by various events and special celebrations.

This milestone provides an occasion to acknowledge the accomplishments of our students, staff, faculty, patrons, and alumni. Their collective efforts have enhanced our region, making it an excellent place to reside and work.

Penn Highlands remains steadfast in its mission of offering the region cost-effective avenues to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for work, everyday life, and the pursuit of lifelong learning.

September 1994
First Classes Held

The first classes were held on September 5, 1994. The College was known as Cambria County Area Community College at the time. 

September 1994
1st President Named

Dr. John O. Hunter was named the College's first president. He served from 1994 to 1999. 

April 1996
Library Formed

The College collaborates with the Hiram G. Andrews Center to inaugurate the institution's library on April 18, 1996.

March 1998
First Downtown Location Opens

The College inaugurated its first downtown Johnstown location in Central Park with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting.

March 1998
Northern Site Opens

Aquinas Hall, situated within Bishop Carroll High School, was initially chosen as the College's inaugural northern campus. Subsequently, the site was relocated to the present-day Ebensburg Center.

October 1998
Granted Mascot Name Usage

The College was granted permission to use the Shawnee name within its mascot. The Shawnee Tribe in Tahlequah, Oklahoma granted this.

November 1998
First Athletics Event

First-ever athletics event at the College took place on November 13, 1998. It was a men's basketball game against Butler County Community College. 

The mascot at the time was the Shawnee Cardinals. 

September 1999
2nd President Named

Dr. Kathleen V. Davis was named the College's second president. She served from 1999 to 2001. 

February 2001
Athletics Suspended

The final sporting event as the Shawnee Cardinals was held on February 17, 2001.

Sports were officially suspended in June 2001. 

June 2002
College Granted Accreditation

The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools granted the College accreditation.

September 2002
3rd President Named

Dr. Anna D. Weitz was named the College's third president. She served from 2002 to 2007.

May 2004
Ebensburg Center Finds Home

The College’s Ebensburg location found its current home, where it has sat for more than 20 years.

July 2004
College Name Changed

Cambria County Area Community College officially changed its name to Pennsylvania Highlands Community College on July 1, 2004.

September 2007
4th President Named

Dr. Walter J. Asonevich was named the College's fourth president. He served from 2007 to 2019. 

December 2007
Richland Campus Opened
Richland Campus

The College established its first true home base in 2007 with the opening of its Richland Campus.

August 2009
Huntingdon Expansion

The College expands its footprint into Huntingdon County. Our first classes in Huntingdon were held on August 24, 2009.

January 2010
Somerset Expansion

The College expands its footprint into Somerset County. Our first classes in Somerset were held on January 19, 2010.

September 2010
First Volleyball Match Held

Athletics is brought back and the Black Bears are introduced. The College hosted its first women’s volleyball match on September 1, 2010.

At one time, Athletics at the College was under the banner of the Shawnee Cardinals when the College was known as Cambria County Area Community College.

November 2010
Basketball Is Brought Back

The College hosted its first men’s basketball game as the Penn Highlands Black Bears on November 19, 2010.

Athletics one last played under the banner of the Shawnee Cardinals when the College was known as Cambria County Area Community College.

July 2013
Blair Expansion

The College expands its footprint into Blair County. Our Blair Center opened its doors in the Logan Valley Mall on July 31, 2013.

May 2014
ACE Program Granted NACEP Accreditation

The National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships granted the College national accreditation for its Accelerated College Education concurrent enrollment program on May 12, 2014.

September 2016
Medical Assisting Granted CAAHEP Accreditation

The Medical Assisting Technology program was awarded initial accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs on September 16, 2016.

June 2017
Middle States Accreditation Reaffirmed

After an evaluation period, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education reaffirmed the accreditation for Pennsylvania Highlands. 

Accreditation ensures that institutions meet rigorous standards and provide quality education to their students.

February 2018
Basketball Team Earns First WPCC Title

Our Men’s Basketball team won the WPCC Title for the first time in Penn Highlands history on February 18, 2018.

August 2018
Designated A National Center Of Academic Excellence In Cyber Defense

The National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security designated the College as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE2Y).

August 2019
Update Alma Mater Released

During the Convocation Ceremony on August 22, 2019, the new and updated Alma Mater was played for the first time to a group of incoming students.

The song, penned by Gary Boast, earned its selection via a competitive process.

January 2020
5th President Named

Dr. Steven C. Nunez was named the College's fifth president. He began his tenure in 2020. 

March 2020
College Responds To Coronavirus

To help with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the community, Penn Highlands Community College students, faculty, and administration strove to inform, donate, and connect with each other in unique ways during those difficult months. >> Learn more.

October 2020
Ebensburg Center Re-Opens

The Pennsylvania Highlands Community College Ebensburg Center re-opened on Monday, October 26, 2020. 

Renovations at the Pennsylvania Highlands Community College Ebensburg Center include changes that “right-sized” the facility to create a more useable, inclusive workspace better equipped to ensure future success for students.

January 2021
eSports Added To Athletics

In January 2021, Black Bear eSports Gaming was added to the College's list of athletic programs, introducing a whole new element to collegiate sports at Penn Highlands. Student-athletes began competing as members of the National Junior College Athletic Association eSports (NJCAAE).


April 2021
College Purchases Richland Campus

Pennsylvania Highlands Community College officially became the owner of the Richland Campus facility, located at 101 Community College Way in Johnstown, PA, as of April 29, 2021. This is the College’s first owned property since it was established in 1994.

December 2021
Winter Classes Are Introduced

For the first time, Pennsylvania Highlands Community College offers a four-week Winter Session.

January 2022
Use of Force Simulator Unveiled

Pennsylvania Highlands unveils the Use of Force Simulator. The new, state-of-the-art simulator resides on the lower level of the College’s Richland Campus and recreates over 750 real-world scenarios in a safe and controlled environment with varying responses to resistance.

September 2022
Police Academy Joins College

The Johnstown Regional Police Academy was transferred to the College, making it the Penn Highlands Police Academy.

The Police Academy is a certified unit of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission (Act 120).

August 2023
Criminal Justice Training Center Formed

Pennsylvania Highlands officials signed multiple local partnerships, officially establishing the formation of the Criminal Justice Training Center.

The Criminal Justice Training Center serves as a hub for five different areas of the criminal justice field, including two stemming from Penn Highlands with the Police Academy and Use of Force Simulator.

March 2024
Centre County Expansion

Pennsylvania Highlands Community College announces expansion into Centre County with a lease in Bellefonte, PA to open a new facility. The new location will be housed on the second floor of the Match Factory.

March 2024
Institute For Cyber Security Formed

Pennsylvania Highlands Community College launches the Institute of Cyber Security (ICS), offering a comprehensive educational suite of pathway programs that includes three associate degree programs and two certificate options.

March 2024
Center For Culinary Excellence Is Opened

Pennsylvania Highlands Community College unveiled its Center for Culinary Excellence at a ribbon-cutting event on Wednesday, March 27, in its new downtown Johnstown location.

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