Dr. Gwendolyn W. Stephenson District Administration Center


Ken Atwater, President

Dr. Ken Atwater

Dr. Ken Atwater became the seventh president of Hillsborough Community College (HCC) on July 1, 2010.   

As president, Dr. Atwater serves as the Chief Executive of the college.   Founded in 1968 as part of a 28-member community college system, Hillsborough Community College (HCC) is currently the fifth largest district in the State of Florida, serving more than 47,000 students each year at its five campuses and three centers.  HCC offers more than 150 academic programs, including 18 Associate in Arts tracks and over 140 workforce programs and is responsible for training the majority of the community’s first responders through its healthcare training, and police and fire academies.  HCC enrolls the largest number of graduates from the School District of Hillsborough County who go on to higher education and is the largest community college feeder to the University of South Florida (USF) through the successful 2 + 2 Program. 


With a total annual budget of over $215 million, HCC employs more than 2,400 and has a total economic impact of more than $1 billion.  Over 75 percent of HCC graduates stay in the local community, and, together, HCC and its former students contribute more than $860 million in added income and economic impact to Hillsborough County.    


Most recently, Dr. Atwater served for 9 years as the President of South Mountain Community College (SMCC). For the five years prior to becoming President at SMCC, he was Vice President for Student Services at Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek, Michigan. In all, Dr. Atwater has served in community college leadership positions for the past 30 years.  


Dr. Atwater earned his Ph.D. in Higher Education (with a focus on community colleges) from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois, in 1989. He earned a Master of Science degree in Guidance and Counseling in 1978, a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech, Theater, and Sociology in 1977, from Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky.  


The President is a graduate of the prestigious Executive Leadership Institute of the League for Innovation in the Community College; and also is a graduate of the Institute for Leadership Effectiveness, University of Tennessee – Knoxville.  


Dr. Atwater currently serves on the board of directors of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, the United Way of Tampa Bay, the1844 Council of the Tampa Metropolitan YMCA, St. Joseph’s Hospital, the MOSI National Board, and sits on the CEO Council.  Dr. Atwater is also chair-elect of the Board of Directors of the American Association of Community Colleges, the AACC Commission on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity, and the Presidents' Round Table of African American CEO’s. 



Dr. Atwater may be reached at: president@hccfl.edu