Northampton Community College

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Northampton Community College
Northampton Community College logo.png
Former name
Northampton County Area Community College
Motto Where are YOU going?
Type Community College
Established 1967
Endowment $41,000,000
President Dr. Mark H. Erickson
Students 34,000
Location United States Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA
40°40′21″N 75°19′24″W / 40.6725°N 75.3234°W / 40.6725; -75.3234Coordinates: 40°40′21″N 75°19′24″W / 40.6725°N 75.3234°W / 40.6725; -75.3234
Newspaper NCC Commuter

School: White and Blue          

Sports: Orange and Black          

Member NJCAA

Intercollegiate, Club and Intramural Sports
Mascot Sam Spartan

Northampton Community College is a community college with campuses in Bethlehem Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania, USA, just outside the city of Bethlehem in the Lehigh Valley region of the state, and in Tannersville, Pennsylvania in neighboring Monroe County. The college, founded in 1967, also has satellite locations in the south side of Bethlehem and Hawley.[1]

Northampton grants associate degrees, certificates and diplomas in more than 100 fields including arts and humanities, business and technology, education and allied health. It is one of the largest employers in the Lehigh Valley and a major educator of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, emergency responders, radiologic technologists, dental hygienists, veterinary technologists, funeral service directors, chefs and early childhood educators for the region.[2]

The college is also one of the largest providers of workforce training, adult literacy programs, and non-credit classes in a four-county region[2] and the only community college in Pennsylvania to offer on-campus housing.

Although the college now serves more than 34,000 students a year in credit and non-credit programs, it has maintained a low student/faculty ratio (21/1). An online learning program makes it possible for students to earn degrees at Northampton from anywhere in the world. International students also study on campus, and the college offers students and faculty the opportunity to study abroad.

One in four graduates of public high schools in Northampton County and one in six graduates of public high schools in Monroe County choose to begin their higher education at NCC,[2] or "NACC" (pronounced 'Nack'), as some students call it in reference to the college's original name, Northampton County Area Community College. The student body is diverse in terms of age, ethnicity, income and academic interest.

Approximately 65% of students continue their education immediately after graduation. The rest enter the workforce. The college's placement rate almost always tops 90%.[2]

Full-time students taking between 12 and 18 credit hours are charged a flat rate for tuition and fees ($1995 for residents of Northampton County.) Students registered for fewer than 12 credit hours are charged a per-credit hour rate ($133 for residents of Northampton County.)[3] The college awards more than $36 million in financial aid each year and disburses more private scholarship aid than any other community college in Pennsylvania.[4][2]

Northampton Community College's participation in the national Achieving the Dream initiative reflects the College's commitment not only to improve access to higher education for first-generation college students, but also to improve college completion rates.[5] NCC is proud to be among the "leader colleges" in Achieving the Dream.[6][7][8]

NCC is also recognized as a leader in the workplace. In March 2013 Northampton was ranked as the top workplace among large employers in the Lehigh Valley based on results of employee surveys conducted by the national research firm WorkplaceDynamics.

NCC was ranked among the top ten community colleges in the country in advances in the use of technology (2014) by the Center for Digital Education (2014, 2015) NCC was also one of 150 community colleges (out of a field of 1200) nominated for the (2014) Aspen Prize


The seeds for what became Northampton Community College were planted in the 1960s by business leaders and educators from Northampton County who saw the need for a college that could provide a well-trained workforce for local employers and give area residents an opportunity to get an affordable college education without leaving the area. Early advocates for the community college included Dr. Glenn Christensen, provost and vice-president of Lehigh University; Charles Fuller, president of Fuller Paper Company and a member of the Easton Area School Board; and State Senator Jeanette Reibman.[9]

The college took root on 165 acres (0.67 km2) of farmland in Bethlehem Township in eight modular classrooms that affectionately came to be known as "the barracks." Credit classes began on October 2, 1967. Four hundred and fifty students were expected. Eight hundred and forty-six showed up.[10] By the following year enrollment had grown to 1,442. In 1969-70 the College earned accreditation from the Middle States Association[11] and broke ground for five permanent buildings, which were completed in 1972. These included the College Center, a Science and Technology Center (Penn Hall), a classroom building (Founders Hall), a Business and Engineering Center (Richardson Hall) and an Arts Center (Kopecek Hall) which housed the College Theatre. In 1977, the Funeral Service and Radiologic Technologies Building opened on South Campus. It is now called Commonwealth Hall. An extensive renovation project occurred between 1986–1988, expanding the amount of classrooms and renaming all of the buildings on the South Campus. In 1992, The Child Development Center opened and was named in honor of State Senator Jeanette Reibman. Also in 1992 Communications Hall was built to house the departments of Radio/TV, Art, Photography and Communications/Theatre.

In its history, Northampton has had only four presidents. Dr. Richard C. Richardson was only 33 years old when he was tapped to become the College's first president. He guided the College's growth for the first ten years. He was succeeded by Dr. Robert Kopecek in 1977. The College's academic programs, enrollment and facilities grew dramatically during Dr. Kopecek's 26-year tenure.[12] When Dr. Kopecek retired, the trustees chose Dr. Arthur Scott, an administrator who had been on the staff for over 25 years, as the College's next leader.[13] During Scott's nine years as president, Northampton opened a site on the southside of Bethlehem, broke ground for a new campus in Monroe County and became known for a collaborative student-centered culture affectionately described as "The Northampton Way. His successor, Dr. Mark Erickson, has strong ties to the region the College serves, having served on the staff of Lehigh University before becoming president of Wittenberg University from 2005 through June of 2012. Erickson has adopted a strategic initiative called Trek to the Top that will focus on student outreach, a completion agenda, diversity and global engagement, community engagement and leadership in technology. Although different in leadership styles, all of Northampton's presidents have shared an entrepreneurial spirit and a fervent commitment to open access to education.[14]

Fowler Family Southside Center[edit]

Named for the family of a well-known local philanthropist, the late Marlene ("Linny") Fowler, the building that now houses Northampton's educational center on the south side of Bethlehem was once the plant offices for The Bethlehem Steel Corporation, one of the nation's largest steel producers. The College purchased the building and began renovating it in 2005, four years after the company went bankrupt. Now more than 31,000 people each year take classes, access medical care, or attend meetings, seminars, conferences, performances, exhibits, public hearings and other events in the building. The Fowler Family Southside Center houses a workforce development center, the Northeast Forensics Training Center, a dental hygiene clinic, a mock casino for training, a 3-D fabrication studio, the Cops 'n' Kids Reading Room, a demo kitchen, dance studios and St. Luke's Southside Medical Center.

New Campus in Monroe County[edit]

In 1988 at the request of local citizens, Northampton Community College began offering classes in neighboring Monroe County. The first classes were taught in space provided by the Monroe County Vocational-Technical School. In 1992 the College moved to Old Mill Road in Tannersville, “recycling” a 10,000-square-foot (930 m2) building that had previously been a garment factory.[15] It was also in 1992 that the site gained “branch campus” status from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Rapid growth in enrollment necessitated the addition of two modular buildings in 1996 and additional expansions in 2000 and 2003, as well as utilization of supplemental space at Fountain Court, Pocono Corporate Center East, the Monroe County Vocational-Technical School, Pocono Mountain West High School, and Pocono Medical Center to meet the demand for education and workforce training.[16]

With enrollment nearing 2000 students and no room for significant additions on Old Mill Road, in February 2006 the College purchased 72 acres (290,000 m2) of land suitable for the creation of a new full-service campus close to Routes 80, 715 and 611 in the geographic center of Monroe County.[17][18]

The new campus opened in the summer of 2014. In addition to classrooms, the facilities include state-of-the-art science and computer labs, a full-service library, a child care center, public meeting rooms, a food court, and athletic fields. All buildings were designed to meet LEED gold standards as models of green construction[19]

Other Special Facilities[edit]

In addition to traditional and high tech classrooms, science and computer labs, art and dance studios, media resource centers, athletic facilities, meeting space and offices, Northampton Community College is also home to applied research facilities like the Emerging Technologies Application Center (ETAC), a television studio, an Innovation Lab, a "Fab Lab", nationally accredited child care centers, and a restaurant called Hampton Winds that showcases the talents of the College's culinary arts students.

Community Engagement[edit]

NCC has a strong commitment to civic engagement and encourages, faculty, staff, and students to become involved in the community. Funding for student clubs and organizations at NCC is based in part on their community service record. A growing number of faculty members incorporate service learning in their classes, encouraging students to participate in service projects that meet community needs in areas related to course content.[20] The College is consistently listed on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.[21]

NCC's community service initiatives have also been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for The Advancement of Teaching and by the Jenzabar Foundation and by State Farm.[22][23][24]

In the spring of 2015, the College opened a Center for Civic and Community Engagement to deepen the College's relationship with the communities it serves, and to empower students to become community problem solvers throughout their lives.


Northampton Community College athletics is affiliated with the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA),[25] Region XIX,[26] and the Eastern Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference (EPCC).[27]

Intercollegiate sports include men's soccer, women's volleyball, men's basketball, women's basketball, baseball, softball, men's golf, women's tennis, women's cross country, men's cross country, men's lacrosse and women's soccer. Club sports and intramurals are also popular.[28]

In 2015, Northampton hosted the national women's basketball championships for the NJCAA. The women's basketball, tennis, softball and volleyball teams have been ranked in the top ten nationally in the NJCAA, as have the men's basketball and baseball teams. Ten NCC athletes have been named NJCAA All-Americans.


In 2008 Northampton Community College was chosen by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to receive the largest grant awarded in a highly selective national grant competition. The College's NEH grant was also given “We the People” designation, placing it among an elite group of projects associated with an NEH initiative aimed at strengthening the teaching, study and understanding of American history and culture.[29][30]

The $800,000 award was a challenge grant. It required the College to raise an additional $1.6 million from other donors[31] to create an endowment that now enables public school students, college students, and the community at large to explore a different humanities-related theme each year. Exploration of the themes will include credit and non-credit course offerings, as well as public programming such as a film series, panels and visits by nationally known speakers.[29][32] The challenge was met. Programming began with a year-long focus on "The Civil War -- The Meaning of Freedom," culminating in an address by the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Since 2005, Northampton Community College has also received grants from the U.S. Department of State, the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and from the U.S. departments of education, labor and energy, as well as from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.[33][34]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ Maps and Directions Retrieved December 16, 2014
  2. ^ a b c d e Fact Sheet Retrieved December 16, 2014
  3. ^ Tuition and Fees Retrieved December 16, 2014
  4. ^ Office of the President Retrieved December 16, 2014
  5. ^ Achieving the Dream Initiative Retrieved May 12, 2010
  6. ^ NCC Hailed as Leader in Helping Students Succeed Retrieved September 13, 2010
  7. ^ Seven Community Colleges Emerge as Leaders in the National Student Completion Movement Retrieved September 13, 2010
  8. ^ Achieving the Dream Leader Colleges Retrieved September 13, 2010
  9. ^ A COMMEMORATIVE BOOKLET, 1967-1987 by Dan Larimer
  10. ^ NCC History Retrieved February 18, 2010
  11. ^ The Express-Times, Easton, Pennsylvania - December 28, 2006 - "College building legacy of learning"
  12. ^ The Morning Call, Allentown, Pennsylvania - October 31, 2002 - "NCC president to retire next year"
  13. ^ The Morning Call, Allentown, Pennsylvania - October 3, 2003 - "Arthur Scott lauded at NCC inauguration"
  14. ^ 40 Years, published by the NCC Foundation in 2007, written by Jim Johnson
  15. ^ Building expands college's Monroe campus September 30, 2003
  16. ^ NCC-Monroe seeks 71 acres for expansion December 2, 2005
  17. ^ Plans for new NCC-Monroe campus unveiled April 11, 2008
  18. ^ Northampton Community College to expand its Monroe campus May 10, 2007
  19. ^ Monroe Eyes Retrieved February 18, 2010
  20. ^ Service Learning at NCC Retrieved May 12, 2010
  21. ^ President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll Retrieved July 7, 2010
  22. ^[permanent dead link]
  23. ^ Northampton Community College students, faculty, committed to rebuilding New Orleans Retrieved September 13, 2010
  24. ^ The Bethlehem Press, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania - March 5, 2008 - "State Farm Grant"
  25. ^ National Junior College Athletic Association
  26. ^ Region XIX
  27. ^ Eastern Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference
  28. ^ [1]
  29. ^ a b NEH Challenge Retrieved February 18, 2010
  30. ^ National Endowment for the Humanities Awards and Offers, December 2008 Retrieved February 18, 2010
  31. ^ Grant for $800,000 challenges Northampton Community College to raise $1.6 million for educational program open to community members January 7, 2009
  32. ^ Grant News - Community College Times Retrieved February 18, 2010
  33. ^ A Special Group K'NEX at NCC August 14, 2008
  34. ^ NCC Wins Federal Grant to Help Adult Students October 16, 2009
  35. ^
  36. ^ Music by Prudence Retrieved February 18, 2010
  37. ^ Retrieved March 8, 2010
  38. ^ NCC's Big Night at the Oscars Retrieved March 8, 2010

External links[edit]