Asnuntuck’s History

50th Anniversary webpage

Asnuntuck Community College is located in Enfield, Connecticut, just off Interstate 91, approximately halfway between the metropolitan areas of Springfield, Massachusetts, to the north and Hartford, Connecticut, to the south.  Asnuntuck serves the north-central Connecticut communities of East Granby, East Windsor, Ellington, Enfield, Somers, Stafford Springs, Suffield, and Windsor Locks, and also draws students from south-central Massachusetts and the greater Hartford area.

The mission of Asnuntuck Community College is to offer quality education in an accessible, affordable, and nurturing environment. The College fulfills its mission by

  • offering associate degree and certificate programs for transfer opportunities, career preparation and enhancement, and lifelong learning.
  • providing individualized support services to develop critical thinking skills, strengthen self-confidence, and foster personal growth.
  • supporting community and workforce development with business, industry, and community partnerships.

Asnuntuck Community College was established in 1969 by an act of the Connecticut state legislature as the twelfth institution in the Connecticut state community college system.  Classes began in 1972 with an initial enrollment of 251.  12 Associate in Science degrees and 20 Associate of Art degrees were awarded to the first graduating class in 1974.  The college operated under provisional approval until it was first accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges in 1977 and accreditation has been reaffirmed through 2020.

In its infancy, the college was named North Central Connecticut Community College.  In 1972, the Board of Trustees officially renamed the college “Asnuntuck”, Native American for “fresh water” (as the college is located on the site of a 1689 land purchase from the Podunk Tribe of the Asnuntuck {or Freshwater} River Area which encompasses most of the college’s service regions).

Asnuntuck Community College’s first president was Daniel McLaughlin (pictured at right).

ACC 1st College President Daniel McLaughlin

In 1985, Dr. Harvey S. Irlen (pictured at left) held the title of “executive dean” because the school that year was merged with Hartford and Tunxis community colleges into the Capital Region Community College district, which had one district president, Dr. Conrad Mallett.

ACC President 1990-2003 Harvey Irlen

Dr. Irlen became the college provost in 1989 before being named the second president on April 1, 1990.  Upon his retirement in 2003, Dr. Martha McLeod (pictured at right) became the third president of Asnuntuck Community College.

Current ACC President Martha McLeod

Upon Dr. McLeod’s retirement in June 2013, Dr. James Lombella, Dean of Administration was appointed as the Interim President. As of July 1, 2014, Dr. James Lombella was appointed as the fourth president of Asnuntuck Community College.


President Lombella

On July 1, 2019, Michelle Coach was appointed as the College’s first Chief Executive Officer. At that time, Dr. James Lombella assumed his role as the North-West regional president.

Michelle Coach

The college has had three homes in its relatively brief life.  It began in the former North School building in the Thompsonville Section of Enfield.  In 1974, the college moved to a leased warehouse on Phoenix Avenue but outgrew that location.  The college moved to its current home in 1983, at 170 Elm Street.  The college completed its first Master Plan in 2003 and design funds in the amount of $1.2 million were authorized by the Bond Commission during fiscal year 2011.  The construction total of $8.3 million will be used to upgrade the building’s mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems (the building was built in 1966), roof replacement and update the science labs.  A redesign of the main entrance and lobby is also included in the scope of the work.

In 1992, the Connecticut legislature mandated merging the state’s community and technical colleges.  While there was no area technical college for an Asnuntuck merger, the legislature also required each community college to complement its general education with a technical focus, bringing about several programmatic changes, as well as the change to the name, Asnuntuck Community-Technical College.  The technical focus remains, particularly in our Manufacturing Technology Center, but the state community colleges dropped the word “technical” from their names in 1999, returning us to the simpler name, Asnuntuck Community College.

The majority of our students are focused on completing their studies at Asnuntuck and transferring to a 4-year institution.  Another large percentage of the student population is enrolled in curricula that focus on workforce development.  Our successful Manufacturing Technology Center (MTC) prepares students for immediate entry into the workforce.  95% of the MTC students are already employed upon graduation.
Click here to view Printable PDF version of the College’s History