Harford Community College will open its campus to the community this Saturday as it celebrates its 60th Anniversary.
The inaugural Harford Fest will feature a family festival with activities, face painting, and music, including a Bee Gees tribute band. Festival-goers will also be able to get hot air balloon rides.
“Harford Community College is a unique institution in Harford,” said Dianna Phillips, president of Harford Community College. We are what I would call an anchor institution in this community.”
The school originally shared space at Bel Air High School, when the college held classes in the evening. When it moved out of the high school, the college purchased a farm, where its current campus currently resides.
Over 350 acres, the campus holds 19 buildings where it serves around 19,000 students. About 9,000 of those students are taking classes for credit, enrolled in more than 80 academic programs.
Through its events, the campus welcomed nearly 80,000 visitors last year and Phillips wants Harford Fest to be a celebration of the community that founded the college as much as it is a celebration of the school itself.
“Our contribution to the social and cultural fabric of Harford county is as significant as our contribution to careers in Harford County,” she said.
After 60 years in the community, Phillips does not see the voice of the community college going away with the advent of the internet and online learning. Instead, she thinks that community voice will only get stronger.
“From my perspective it’s the human interaction and the experience that we have,” she said. “There’s no substitute to actually being here and engaging your classmates in dialogue and debate and actually having the experience.”
Saturday’s festivities will open with a 5K race to raise money for Remembrance Book Scholarships.