History of Hawkeye

Since Hawkeye opened its doors in 1966, it has focused on meeting the needs of the community, providing quality, affordable training for learners at all stages of life. First opened as Hawkeye Institute of Technology, today Hawkeye Community College serves more than 25,000 individuals and awards almost 1,500 diplomas and degrees annually. Hawkeye has a community impact of $106 million and 1,400 jobs. Since 1966, the college has graduated more than 50,000 students, with 94 percent staying in Iowa.

Hawkeye Institute of Technology established. Travis Martin hired as the first superintendent.

Hawkeye’s fall enrollment is 227 students.

The Waterloo Area Vocational School, which was operated by the Waterloo School District, is officially transferred to Hawkeye Institute of Technology.

The State of Iowa provided $1.25 million to Hawkeye. This was the second largest allocation in the state.

Voters pass the tax levy—$1.75 million was raised over five years.


The original board members define the mission of the Hawkeye Institute of Technology as “Teach for the future."

Hawkeye Institute of Technology is the only technical school in Iowa. John Deere helps Hawkeye with training programs in drafting, manufacturing, engineering, and electronics. This effort evolved into a long-standing partnership between Deere and Hawkeye.

Construction begins on the first building on Hawkeye's main campus. Until this time, Hawkeye Institute of Technology operated entirely in rented facilities in Waterloo.
Hawkeye dedicates Butler Hall and Buchanan Hall.
Hawkeye celebrates the opening of Bremer Hall.
Hawkeye creates the Gates Department of Business taking over several business programs from the closed Gates Business College.

Black Hawk Hall is dedicated.

Hawkeye has 41 career programs and a full-time vocational-technical staff.


Hawkeye’s fall enrollment is 1,628 students.

Dr. John E. Hawse becomes the college's second president.

Hawkeye celebrates the opening of Hawkeye Center.
Grundy Hall is dedicated.

Fayette Hall is dedicated. This building is primarily the college's Greenhouse.

Hawkeye's Metro Center opens at 844 West 4th in Waterloo. Programs and services offered included Adult Basic Education, GED, ESL, Senior Companion, Independent Learning Center, and GRAD Program with Waterloo School District.

Hawkeye’s fall enrollment is 2,149 students.
Voters approve $6.2 million bond issue for new buildings and on-campus renovations.

Hawkeye receives approval to become a comprehensive community college with arts and sciences transfer courses.

Workforce Development, Region 7, becomes a part of Hawkeye.

Dr. Phillip Barry becomes the college's third president.

Hawkeye Institute of Technology officially becomes Hawkeye Community College.

Enrollment increase by 66%.

Hawkeye’s Tama Hall is dedicated.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center is dedicated at 515 Beech Street, Waterloo. Programs and services include GED, college courses, summer program for grade school children, non-credit computer courses, and career workshops.

Hawkeye leases land to the Cedar Valley Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, which features a variety of gardens and more than 450 trees. The arboretum is a classroom without walls that complements the other programs at Hawkeye Community College. It serves as a living museum showcasing Iowa's agricultural heritage.

Dr. William Hierstein becomes the college's fourth president.

Hawkeye’s fall enrollment is 3,638 students.


Hawkeye opens its Cedar Falls Center, offering business and industry training in addition to college credit courses.

Hawkeye dedicates a new Library more than twice the size of the previous facility. The new Library addressed the needs of Arts & Sciences curriculum.

Dr. Bettsey Barhorst becomes the fifth president.

Hawkeye dedicates the Independence Center, which offers credit and non-credit courses and serves high school students in Jesup, Independence, and East Buchanan school districts taking college credit classes while still in high school.

Voters approve a $25.1 million bond issue, one of the largest in the history of Iowa's community colleges. Major projects include an addition to Black Hawk Hall, the Brock Student Center, and the Health Education and Services Center.


Hawkeye Foundation receives its largest single contribution from the estates of William Fennemann and Edna Fennemann. The college dedicates the Fennemann Center on Hawkeye's farm, featuring classrooms, computer labs, and the farm office. With more than 400 acres, Hawkeye's Farm Lab utilizes up-to-date technology, facilities, and equipment to provide students hands-on experiences in crop and livestock production and management.

Greg Schmitz becomes the sixth president.

The Brobst Center for Teaching and Learning opens, named in honor of long-time Hawkeye instructors and administrators, Dr. Dan and Carol Brobst.

Black Hawk Hall addition is dedicated.

Hawkeye Community College signs a letter of intent as a partner in the Cedar Valley TechWorks project.

The new student center is dedicated and named after Harold Brock.

Hawkeye's fall enrollment is a record 6,343.

Hawkeye opens its Waverly Outreach Center.


Hawkeye opens its Western Outreach Center near Holland, Iowa.

Hawkeye hosts RAGBRAI.


Dr. Linda Allen becomes Hawkeye's seventh president.

Hawkeye opens the Health Education and Services Center on Main Campus.


Hawkeye dedicates the Regional Transportation Training Center, located at 6433 Hammond Ave., Waterloo.

Hawkeye Community College earns Blue Zones worksite destination.

Hawkeye Community College expands to Waterloo TechWorks. Classrooms and labs were located to The Green@TechWorks to accommodate two new “green” curriculum offerings—the “Alternative Energy Technologies” program and the proposed “Sustainable Construction” program.

U.S. Secretary of Education Duncan & U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack visit Hawkeye

Advanced Technology and Business Center opens on Main Campus.
Hawkeye names and dedicates the Van Gerpen Patient Simulator Lab.

The Dislocated Worker Transition Center opens on Main Campus. Iowa Workforce Development, Hawkeye Community College, United Auto Workers Local 838, and John Deere partnered to implement a National Dislocated Worker Grant to assist 650 workers with obtaining new job skills and training.

Voters overwhelmingly approve a $25 million bond issue. Major projects include a new adult education center, a new health sciences building, expanded training and education opportunities for high school students, and renovation of Grundy Hall.

Hawkeye's new logo is adopted.

The Child Development Center is relocated and expanded in partnership with Tri-County Head Start.

Hawkeye offers Intercollegiate athletics with Sports Shooting starting fall 2015.

The RedTail Athletics logo is adopted.

Hawkeye introduces the mascot: Rusty the RedTail.


The Hawkeye Community College Board of Trustees approved purchasing property located at Jefferson Street and West Mullan Avenue in Waterloo for the construction of a new adult education center. The adult education center will combine the programs and services offered at the Metro Center and the Martin Luther King Jr. Center and allow for space to expand programs.

Men's and women's soccer teams begin their first season of intercollegiate competition.

Hawkeye is named a 2016 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School for its comprehensive approach to sustainability.

Hawkeye receives a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to train current and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouses and children for jobs as commercial bus and truck drivers.

The exhibit, "Hawkeye Community College: 50 Years of Making Connections," opens at the Grout Museum of History and Science.

Independence Center moves into Independence High School.


Men's and women's cross country teams begin their first season of intercollegiate competition.

Co-Ed Dance begins their first season.

Martin Luther King Jr. Center closes and combines services with the Metro Center.


Co-Ed Esports team begins their first season.

Men's golf team begins their first season.

Women's volleyball team begins their first season.

Hawkeye partners with Exceptional Persons, Inc. to open a child care center at the Adult Learning Center.

The Sustainable Construction and Design program forms an innovative partnership with the City of Waterloo to build houses on vacant lots.

Students and educators from five Iowa high schools travel to Kosovo, collaborating with local schools and government officials as part of a new innovative partnership to improve agricultural education both in Iowa and abroad.

Waverly Outreach Center closes.

Metro Center closes and moves services to the Van G. Miller Adult Learning Center


The Van G Miller Adult Learning Center is dedicated and named after philanthropist Van G Miller. The center provides adult basic education, high school completion, English Language Learning (ELL) classes, integrated education and training or I-BEST programs, Senior Companion Program, and college transition services.

Dr. Todd Holcomb becomes Hawkeye's eighth president.

Men's and Women's bowling teams begin their first season.


Hawkeye expands its course delivery formats with hybrid classes and increases the number of online classes to provide a safe learning environment for students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hawkeye started WE Build, a community-based program that provides career training, counseling, and job preparation for individuals interested in the construction industry.


Grundy Hall begins a top-to-bottom renovation.

The Hawkeye Sustainable Construction and Design program became the first and only community college to be awarded the Zero Energy Designation Program from the US Department of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Hawkeye started the Pathways to Education and Employment for Reentry (PEER) program to provide education and career services to individuals with a record.


Hawkeye Community College had a $444.5 million impact on the Cedar Valley region’s economy, including the support of 6,343 jobs, according to a recent study by EMSI Burning Glass.


Voters approved a $35 million bond referendum. Major projects include renovating Butler Hall to create a Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Center, creating a STEM or Challenger Center, and expanding the law enforcement academy.

The Automation and Robotics Center at Techworks is dedicated.

Women’s softball begins its first season.

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