Luzerne County Community College was created on December 15, 1965 when the Luzerne County Commissioners adopted a resolution agreeing to act as sponsor of a two year-college under the Pennsylvania "Community College Act of 1963."
The commissioners appointed the County Board of School Directors to survey the needs of high school students and local employers. On September 15, 1966, the Pennsylvania Board of Education, on information presented by the commissioners, approved the plan for the college.
Luzerne County Community College formally began operations on October 2, 1967, when 836 students enrolled in classes in downtown Wilkes-Barre. The college offered 11 programs in two buildings with tuition at $12.50 per credit.
As the coal industry jobs in Northeastern Pennsylvania faded away, the area became a hotbed of various new business and industries that needed employees skilled in new technologies and trades. LCCC offered the education companies needed for their employees. With an open admission policy, low tuition, numerous academic and technical programs, and the commitment to provide a quality education to anyone who had the desire to pursue a higher education, the idea quickly caught on.
Class size nearly doubled the second year. By the fall of 1968, enrollment totaled 1,500 and in June 1969, the first 210 students graduated. The commencement speech was delivered by Congressman Daniel J. Flood.
Luzerne County Community College served more than 5,000 students during the first five years. Quickly outgrowing its temporary headquarters, LCCC embarked on a plan to find a permanent location that allowed for expansion and was conveniently located for the residents of Luzerne County.
In January 1974, the college moved to its permanent 122-acre campus in Nanticoke. The campus consisted of eight buildings designed with the latest technology and ample classroom space to handle the rising student population.
By the end of the decade, LCCC offered Associate's Degrees in 13 Liberal Arts programs and 15 Technical-Career programs.
The campus continued to expand in the 1980s to meet the increased educational needs of the area. With the addition of an $8 million, 85,000 sq. ft., Advanced Technology Center in 1988, the college offers an array of high-technology programs such as robotics and laser-electro optics. An Education Conference Center was also constructed to meet the needs of business and industry and offer additional space to hold continuing education classes.
Enrollment in 1992 reached 7,450 full and per-time credit students and 8,000 full and part-time credit free students.
Luzerne County Community College began a large scale expansion and remodeling project in the late 1990s. A 13,000 sq. ft. addition to the Advance Technology Building was completed to house the Commercial Art Department, including studios, lecture rooms, computer labs, and photography studios and darkrooms. The new Business and Computer Center took over the previous student center. The Library received a new look and new technology. And a new $8 million Campus Center opened in the Fall of 1999 housing the bookstore, a fitness center, cafeteria, student activities, counseling services, support services, and the President's Office.
LCCC acquired additional property along Prospect Street bringing the total acreage to 167-acres. That property now houses the College's Public Safety Training Institute, which opened in 2008. Two additional new sites are located in downtown Nanticoke: the Joseph Paglianite Culinary Arts Institute, which opened in Fall 2010, and the Health Sciences Building, which is a new facility to be housed in an existing building in downtown Nanticoke, current under renovation.
In addition to Luzerne County, the college has expanded its coverage area with off campus sites at area high schools and dedicated sites throughout northeastern Pennsylvania. Off campus sites are currently located in Berwick, Elk Lake, Kulpmont, Hazleton, Honesdale, Old Forge, Pittston, Shamokin, Susquehanna, and Wilkes-Barre. Plus, Luzerne County Community College offers Distance Education classes over the Internet.
Many LCCC students wish to continue their education upon completion of their studies. LCCC has articulation/transfer agreements with over 40 baccalaureate degree-awarding institutions. The College is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education, Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools; the College also maintains accreditation for specific programs from the American Dental Association, the National League of Nursing, Pennsylvania Department of Health, Division of EMS Services and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.
Today, the college boasts more than 25,000 degree-bearing alumni. LCCC currently offers over 100 academic, technical and career training programs. The College's top programs in terms of enrollment are General Studies, Education, Nursing, Criminal Justice, Business Management Technology, Business Administration, and Computer Information Systems. Plus, LCCC offers hundreds of credit-free programs, making it the largest supplier of credit-free education in the area.
Luzerne County Community College is the largest college in northeastern Pennsylvania and continues to expand and adapt to the educational needs of the residents and business and industry in the Wyoming Valley.