Hazard Community and Technical College (HCTC) is a comprehensive, two – year institution founded from its predecessors, Hazard Community College, Lees College and Hazard Vocational/Technical College serving the Kentucky River region of Southeastern Kentucky.
In 1964, citizens of Hazard and Perry County petitioned the Kentucky General Assembly to establish a two year college in southeastern Kentucky. The General Assembly acted on the request in 1966. The community formed the Hazard Independent College Foundation in order to secure property for a University of Kentucky community college. The Hazard Community College Advisory Board employed Dr. J. Marvin Jolly as chief executive of the school in 1968; the college received initial accreditation in 1970 and moved to a permanent site on 17 acres south of Hazard.
In 1996, Hazard Community College assumed the management of historic Lees College with origins from 1883, a private, two – year Liberal Arts College affiliated with the Presbyterian Church located on 17 acres in nearby Jackson, Kentucky. Following is a chronology of the presidents of Lees as recorded by Nancy Begley in her book Had It Not Been for Lees: Dr. J. O. VanMeter (1928-1948); Robert G. Landolt (1949-1958); J. Phil Smith (1958-1959); Lauren H. Hollander (1959-1960); Frazier B. Adams (1960-1961); Dr. Troy R. Eslinger (1961-1988); William Bradshaw (1988-1992); and Dr. Charles Derrickson (1992-1996).
The Hazard Vocational/Technical School opened its doors in 1945 at the site of the Hazard Water Plant. Devert Owens was appointed founding director, followed by Walter Prater, Finley Begley, and Connie Johnson. During many years of service, the school was renamed and repositioned until it was assigned to the Kentucky Cabinet for Workforce Development in 1990, and then renamed Hazard Technical College in 1997. Through the mandates of the Kentucky Postsecondary Education Improvement Act of 1997, Hazard Community College and Hazard Technical College joined the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS). Hazard Community College then became Hazard Community and Technical College (HCTC).
Under the leadership of current Interim President/CEO, Dr. Juston Pate and a local Board of Directors, and with the support of the Hazard Independent College Foundation, Inc., Hazard Community and Technical College offers two – year degrees, certificates, and diplomas on several locations throughout the seven county regions (Breathitt, Knott, Lee, Leslie, Owsley, Perry and Wolfe). The colleges past presidents include Dr. J. Marvin Jolly, Dr. Ed Hughes, Dr. Jay Box, Dr. Allen Goben and Dr. Steve Greiner.
Responding to the growing needs of the service area, HCTC has been involved in the establishment of a number of unique centers and schools. Through collaborations and community efforts, the Challenger Learning Center of Kentucky, University Center of the Mountains, Kentucky School of Bluegrass and Traditional Music , and Kentucky School of Craft have become reality.