History of the College
The Cambria County Commissioners voted unanimously in June 1993 to become the local sponsors for Cambria County Area Community College (CCACC). In September 1993, the State Board of Education approved the establishment of a community college in Cambria County.
In October 1993, the Commissioners approved the appointment of a 15 member Board of Trustees representing the geographic service area of the institution and including leading members of the professional community. The Board of Trustees was inducted and held its initial meeting October 26, 1993.
By March 1994, the County Commissioners approved the Articles of Agreement with Cambria County Area Community College and a month later, the Board of Trustees appointed Dr. John O. Hunter as founding President effective June 1, 1994. The first classes were held September 5, 1994. The College was approved as a candidate for accreditation by the Commission on Higher Education, Middle States Association in November 1996. In 1999, Dr. Hunter retired. The Board of Trustees appointed Dr. Kathleen V. Davis as the second President of the College effective July 1, 1999. Under Dr. Davis’ leadership, the College began the accreditation process by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
Dr. Davis resigned as President in December 2001. In February 2002, the Board of Trustees appointed Dr. John Kingsmore as Interim President and the College began the search for its third President. In June of the same year, the College received notification that full accreditation from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools had been granted. On July 8, 2002, Dr. Anna D. Weitz began her tenure as the third President of Cambria County Area Community College.
During its first ten years of operation, the College expanded its academic offerings in liberal arts and career programs to include online courses and advanced technology offerings. In addition to providing area residents with credit courses, the College had increased non-credit, continuing education programs to meet the workforce development needs of the region. The vision of President Dr. Anna Weitz was to grow enrollment and expand the outreach of the College to surrounding counties that are underserved or not served by a community college. In order to achieve this goal, the College petitioned the Department of Education to change the name of CCACC to reflect a more regional approach. The College’s name was officially changed to Pennsylvania Highlands Community College effective July 1, 2004.
In May 2007, Dr. Weitz pursued another employment opportunity and on August 13, 2007, the Board of Trustees appointed Dr. Walter Asonevich as the College’s fourth President.
In January 2008, the College moved the main campus to its current location on Community College Way in Richland. Under Dr. Asonevich’s leadership, program offerings were revamped at the Ebensburg location, and additional Centers were added in Somerset, Huntingdon, and Blair Counties, expanding the College’s reach in the Southern Alleghenies. The College added new career-technical programs in welding, radiology technology, computer science, pre-engineering, environmental science, and histotechnology, and also offers a pilot training program. Penn Highlands offers complete programs through our Online Campus. The College has also become an excellent way to reduce student loan debt as its liberal arts offerings easily provide for the first two years of a bachelor’s degree while costing much less than public and private university tuition and fees. In addition, with statewide agreements with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) universities, an agreement with the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, and several other agreements with regional private and public colleges, the ability to use Penn Highlands’ credits toward completion of a four-year degree has become highly effective and efficient.
Our high school dual enrollment program, Accelerated College Education, is accredited by the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships and serves as many as 1,600 students each year in more than 50 school districts. Our Associate in the High School program has seen more than 60 graduates since the program’s inception in 2011. Penn Highlands’ dual enrollment students have been able to transfer tens of thousands of college credits earned in high school toward earning college degrees at institutions as prestigious as Penn State University, Duquesne University, the University of Pittsburgh, and many more.
The College’s NJCAA athletics program continues to grow with men’s basketball, women’s volleyball, cross country, and bowling.
The Board of Trustees appointed Dr. Steven C. Nunez as the fifth President of the College effective January 6, 2020.
Pennsylvania Highlands Community College provides its students with affordable opportunities to gain the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in their work, in their day-to-day lives, and in their pursuit of life-long learning in a supportive, student-oriented environment.
Pennsylvania Highlands Community College strives to be a community of learners where every student, employee and community member is respected and supported. The College is deeply committed to the following values:
Student Success - creating a student-centered environment where individuals are challenged, encouraged and supported to achieve their educational, professional and personal goals as well as develop a spirit of intellectual curiosity and a commitment to lifelong learning.
Quality and Accountability - establishing performance standards throughout the institution, developing measures to document effectiveness along with a commitment to continuous improvement in pursuit of excellence.
Integrity and Ethics - holding each member of the organization to high professional and personal standards. These principles are also embodied in the Statement on Professional Ethics adopted by the College’s Faculty.
Collaboration and Collegiality - informing and involving members of the College community in discussion and problem solving at all levels in an atmosphere marked by civility and cordiality conducted with respect for personal and professional differences remembering as well the value of humor and humility.
Responsiveness to Diverse and Changing Community Needs - developing innovative and creative responses to the region’s dynamic economic, workforce and social needs based on interactions with all segments of the community.
Pennsylvania Highlands Community College will be a dominant higher education provider in west central Pennsylvania - a catalyst for regional renewal - positioning our graduates to be recognized as highly competent, exceptional members of the community and workforce.
Pennsylvania Highlands Community College is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, 215-662-5606. The Commission on Higher Education is an institutional accrediting agency, which is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation.
Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Statement
Pennsylvania Highlands Community College does not discriminate in its programs, activities or employment practices on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factors, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law and provides equal access to the boy scouts and other designated youth groups.
Inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies should be directed to:
Assistant Vice President of Human Resources
101 Community College Way
Johnstown, PA 15904
Inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies as they relate to gender-based discrimination or sex-based discrimination to include sexual misconduct or Section 504/ADA policies should be directed to:
Title IX Coordinator
101 Community College Way
Johnstown, PA 15904