President Kathleen Hetherington will be saying goodbye to HCC graduates for the last time. (Photo courtesy of Public Relations and Marketing)
President Kathleen Hetherington will be saying goodbye to HCC graduates for the last time.

Photo courtesy of Public Relations and Marketing

HCC Says Goodbye to President Hetherington

May 20, 2021

Photo courtesy of Public Relations and Marketing

This spring, Howard Community College’s long-time president, Dr. Kathleen Hetherington, announced her plans to retire. Her last day will be October 1, 2021 and she plans to make the most out of her final five months as president.

“We are finally seeing a light at the end of this ‘too long’ covid tunnel,” she said in her retirement announcement. “For me, this is the right time to begin working towards a transition.”

Planning her departure for when the school has reached a more normal position is President Heatherington’s final gift to the college. It is just another example of how she has served the student body since taking over in 2007.

Dr. Hetherington has been with HCC for 22 years, serving as the school’s fourth president for the past 14. While the years have all had their fair share of challenges, nothing could have possibly prepared Dr. Hetherington for what this final chapter would have in store. Having to navigate through a global pandemic was the last thing anyone expected—and Dr. Hetherington has handled it with grace.

Times haven’t been normal lately, but Dr. Hetherington has encountered her share of challenges. Dr. Hetherington eventually came to Columbia ready to make an impact. Over two decades later, she’s still doing it. During her tenure, the “Daily Record” named Dr. Hetherington as one of “Maryland’s Top 100 Women” three times.

Dr. Hetherington’s schooling began at a community college. She went on to earn a handful of degrees, ultimately earning a  Doctorate in Education from Widener University. However, she never forgot her roots.“I am a proud community college grad,” the president said.

Dr. Hetherington has poured her heart into Howard Community College. Throughout her tenure, HCC was recognized by the  “Great College to Work For” program for 12 consecutive years. In 2019, the school received a presidential level honor: The Malcolm Baldwin Award for National Quality in Education.

Reflecting on her 22 years at the school, Dr. Hetherington says it’s not the accolades or achievements that she will remember most. The less tangible things stand out to her.

Theatre performances with the Horowitz Center’s “Rep Stage” program, local high schoolers experiencing HCC through the “Jumpstart” program and the welcoming campus atmosphere are just some of the things Dr. Hetherington will miss the most. “The culture here was something that I had never experienced before in higher education,” Dr. Hetherington said.

Current and future generations of students will continue to flourish at HCC. On land once populated by farm animals and fields at its start, Dr. Hetherington has helped cultivate a landscape of success. Though she soon will be saying goodbye, the marks Dr. Hetherington leaves behind are not going anywhere.

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