HCC's story began in 1946 as the city-sponsored Holyoke Junior College, a fledgling institution that lacked many of the resources traditionally associated with colleges. Nevertheless, the school flourished, thanks to the perseverance of its small but dedicated staff. Dr. George Frost, the school's founder, and Ellen Lynch, his secretary, were the only full-time employees until 1958, sharing a tiny office in a former cloak room in the Holyoke High School building. Together they scavenged chalk, erasers, and pencils for the part-time faculty (many of whom were professors at area four-year colleges and universities), who taught classes in the borrowed quarters during the evenings. Innovation was, and continues to be, a cornerstone of the college's pursuit of excellence.
When Holyoke Community College's newly renovated campus burned to the ground on a bitterly cold day in January of 1968, it was the resourcefulness and innovative spirit of the college and community that enabled students to resume their studies in temporary facilities within a matter of days. Later, flooding the governor's office with hundreds of letters and phone calls, the community and college joined forces to insist that the school be rebuilt in Holyoke.
Today, Holyoke Community College is housed on a multi-million-dollar, 135-acre campus, equipped with state-of-the art technology in specialized learning facilities. HCC serves over 9,000 students annually, and provides a variety of recreational and cultural activities, from sports programs to music festivals, for students and community members alike. The college's strongest assets continue to be an innovative spirit, a sincere concern for students and a commitment to strive for even greater success. These are the values which have a created a tradition of excellence spanning more than six decades, and which are enabling Holyoke Community College to meet the challenges of the new millennium.