A large tree at the center of campus, still standing after more than 35 years, provided the perfect location for a recent reunion of former HJC Public Information Office staff. Erin Harman, left, and JoEllen (Nield) Barnhart, right, both graduated from HJC and later came back to work in the 1980s. JoEllen served as the public information director for 11 years and Erin worked as a writing assistant for three years. Each of them continued on the path of higher education, later working together at USMH, where JoEllen was the associate executive director and Erin continues as the director of advancement and outreach. JoEllen now teaches at the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University. JoEllen credits her experience at the college with providing her with a foundation for academic growth and self discovery. While at the college, she helped to establish Washington County’s first inclusive Children’s Learning Center, which helped put her on a path of lifelong disability advocacy and education. Erin has fond memories of the college. Her mother took her to events there as a child and she later met her husband as a student. She was inspired to pursue a career in journalism after taking a class with Professor Larry Sharpe, which she says impacted her entire career. She continues to work closely with folks at HCC because of the strong partnership with USMH.
Typewriters are a thing of the past, but Barbara Lease continues to be a welcoming presence in the Human Resources Office at Hagerstown Community College. Barbara was hired in 1988 as the Evening Switchboard Operator and while working at HJC, she completed her studies and graduated in 1997. Shortly after, she began working in the Human Resources Office as an Administrative Office Associate and is currently the HR Operations Specialist. Following in her footsteps, her son Nathaniel attended HCC as an ESSENCE student and is now teaching as an adjunct in the English and Humanities Division. Nathaniel’s spouse, Sara is also a graduate of HCC. It doesn’t stop there! Her mother and husband have also taken classes at the college. When Barbara was a student, she actually was in the same speech class with her mother.
Dave Warner’s mother, Ivy, graduated from HJC in 1972, as a member of the second nursing class. Shortly after that, Dave took music classes at HJC as a high school student. Little did he know then that the campus would become a second home to him, as he built his professional career. In addition to being a student, he has served as support staff, adjunct faculty, full-time faculty, division chair, director, interim president, and vice president. He briefly left the college in 2004 to serve as the first executive director of the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown, returning to campus in 2011. All of these experiences have given him a unique perspective on HCC, a place he considers to be a “powerful and life-changing” institution. In addition to his professional interests, Dave is a performing musician, avid sailor, author, and devoted family man.
Kellie Koons and Dawn Reed
From classmates to coworkers, Kellie Koons and Dawn Reed’s friendship continues today. They became friends over 40 years ago in the sixth grade at Smithsburg Middle School. Continuing their education, they both studied office technology at Hagerstown Junior College and graduated in 1989. While attending college, they both worked as student workers. Kellie worked in job placement and the President’s Office and Dawn worked in Continuing Education. To this day they are both still employed by the college and have successful careers. Kellie has worked in the Workforce Solutions and Continuing Education Department for over a decade in various roles and is currently a program coordinator. Dawn has held key roles across campus for the past 34 years in the Continuing Education and Planning and Institutional Effectiveness departments. She is currently the Executive Assistant in the Administration and Finance Office.
Professor John Ziegler shared his passion and expertise in business, economics, and management with students at Hagerstown Community College for 32 years. Since his retirement in 2003, you can now find John on the trails of the C&O Canal and Antietam Battlefield, volunteering his time to trail maintenance. You can catch “Story Time with John,” at Home Wood Assisted Living, Ravenwood Nursing Care Center, and Western Maryland Hospital, where he reads stories to the residents once a week. John’s three children attended HCC and he has continued his professional relationships with colleagues from the college during monthly luncheons.
Kyle Dingle and Matthew Seifarth
Kyle Dingle and Matt Seifarth started as students at HCC in 2000, right after they graduated from Smithsburg High School. They quickly got involved with the Student Government Association, with Matt being elected president and Kyle as the vice president. Together they did a lot to reinvigorate the SGA. They camped out overnight before the first day of classes in 2001, to welcome students as they started the fall semester. Kyle graduated from HCC in 2002 and then went to Towson University. He has worked as a WCPS teacher for more than 15 years, and was selected as the 2016-17 Teacher of the Year. Matt graduated from HCC in 2003 and went to Penn State Harrisburg to earn a degree in mechanical engineering. He now works as a supplier manager at JLG Industries. They recently visited campus and marveled at how the college has changed since they were students.
Louise Wine and Mike Harsh
Professor Louise Wine and Professor Mike Harsh have dedicated their careers to Hagerstown Community College over the last five decades. Collectively they have touched the lives of more than 20,000 students. Their reach has spanned well beyond the college and into the community as each has provided leadership training to local business and county government associations.
Louise started her career at HJC in 1973 as the director of student activities. She began teaching psychology in 1980 and retired with Faculty Emeritus status in 2020. She is still teaching a few courses each semester. Her husband and three children attended HCC.
Mike started teaching at HJC in 1975 as an adjunct at the Maryland Correctional Training Center in speech and English. After the Kepler Theater opened, he directed a summer theater workshop for many years. In 1983, he became the liaison coordinator of off-campus programs and eventually became a full-time faculty member in speech, theater, and English. He was the first faculty member to teach writing in a computer-mediated communication classroom and the first to move a course on to the web. Mike is a senior faculty member now in his 38th year full time at HCC. He has taken courses at the college and his wife and three daughters are all HCC alumni.
Bernard and Brye Hopkins
In the early 1990s, former HCC men’s basketball Coach Jim Brown went to a game at Overlea High School in Baltimore County, to scout a player he had in mind. But during the game, Brown’s attention shifted to an impressive young man named Bernard Hopkins. And that’s where Bernard’s HJC/HCC story began. He played for the Hawks from 1992-1994 and went on to play at VCU. From there, his skills and love of the game took him all the way to Spain, where he played professionally for 15 years. Five years ago, he had the unique opportunity to return to HCC, as the coach where his college career began. He credits his time at HCC with helping him build his skills and character, on and off the court. Now, he gets to impart that knowledge to a team of student-athletes each season, including his son, Brye, who is enjoying his first year playing as a forward for the Hawks. HCC is happy to have these two “gems” on campus and on the court!
Darlene (Shilling) Gordon
“Friends for life!” That’s how Darlene (Shilling) Gordon describes her teammates from the HJC Volleyball team in 1988. As a radiography student and athlete, Darlene’s schedule was busy from the very beginning. She says her teachers, coaches, and teammates helped support and drive her to succeed academically and athletically. Her team was fortunate to play in the ARCC during the first season it was open and they went on to win the Region XX Championship in 1989. As a Radiologic/Ultrasound Technologist, she has worked at Meritus and local private practice for more than 30 years. Her love of HCC and connections to the college run deep. She followed in her sister’s footsteps as a student and athlete, met her husband on campus, and has a daughter who is currently a dental hygiene student and volleyball player. Theirs is truly a Hawk-loving family!
In 1966, Ed Gift fell in love at HJC. He fell in love with the College and, more importantly, with a fellow student, Barbara Riley, who would become his wife a few years later. They both graduated from HJC in 1968 and continued their education at Towson University. While at HJC, he was president of the Class of 1968. He credits the professors and administrators at HJC in contributing to the success he would experience, as a teacher for 42 years in the Social Studies Department at Smithsburg High School, and at HCC, where he is now in his 47th year as an adjunct instructor of sociology, history, and psychology. Ed was honored as Adjunct Faculty of the Year in 2008. “HCC is a very special place to me,” he said. “There are so many noteworthy people who gave me support and encouragement as I developed a love for teaching that I still feel today.”