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 is currently the seventh largest community college in the State of Florida, serving more than 46,000 students each year at its five campuses and three centers. HCC has an annual budget of over $220 million and employs more than 2500. Over 75 percent of HCC graduates stay in the local community, and, together, HCC and its former students contribute more than $1.1 billion in added income and economic impact to Hillsborough County.
HCC offers more than 160 academic programs, including 18 associate in arts tracks and over 150 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 through the successful 2+2 Program.
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 he is also a graduate of the Institute for Leadership Effectiveness, University of Tennessee-Knoxville.
Dr. Atwater currently serves as the chairman of the board of directors of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), the AACC Commission on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity, the Presidents' Round Table of African American CEOs, and on the board of directors of St. Joseph’s Hospital, the Tampa-Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation, and the Museum of Science & Industry’s National Board.