Jan 20, 2022  
2020-2021 Catalog 
2020-2021 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

About Grays Harbor College

Mission, Values, and Priorities

Our Vision

Grays Harbor College inspires our students and enriches our community by providing positive growth through learning.

Our Mission

Grays Harbor College provides meaningful and engaging learning opportunities and support services to enhance the knowledge, skills, and abilities of our students and support the cultural and economic needs of our community. 

Strategic Priorities 

  • Enrich student learning
  • Promote student, faculty, and staff success
  • Foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive learning environment
  • Ensure effective, efficient, and sustainable use of college resources
  • Strengthen community connections and partnerships

Grays Harbor College History

Grays Harbor College, a two-year community college, first opened for students on September 28, 1930, after a group of Aberdeen citizens organized the concept of a college and then received the charter from the State of Washington. For the first four years, the College was in the old Franklin School building on Market Street, later moving to Terrace Heights (1934-1945) and eventually to a building next to the current Sam Benn Gym (1945-1955). Originally the College was operated as a private institution but came under control of the Aberdeen School District in 1945, which provided much needed financial stability. Since that time, Grays Harbor College has continuously served residents of both Grays Harbor and Pacific counties, offering academic, professional and technical courses at a reasonable cost and giving them the opportunity to learn and live close to home. Funds were allocated for purchase of the current 40-acre site overlooking the Harbor in 1955 and classes opened at this existing location in 1958. The College included classrooms, science laboratories, library, gymnasium, administrative offices and the student service facility (HUB).

GHC Today

Numerous additions, renovations and major remodeling projects have occurred over the years and kept the College vibrant and modern for students and the community. Many of the buildings and spaces on campus are named in honor of cherished longtime College faculty and administrators. The John Spellman Library, named for an honored GHC librarian, was extensively remodeled in 2003, and more recently has expanded to house eLearning and tutoring services; the Jewell C. Manspeaker Instructional Building was completed in 2006 and named for the former GHC president; the Gene Schermer Instructional Building, named for GHC’s longtime chemistry instructor and administrator, opened for students Fall 2015 on the opposite corner of campus. The child care center opened in 2009 and was financed by grants and fundraising efforts spearheaded by the Grays Harbor College Foundation.

Since its original setting in Aberdeen, GHC has also expanded its services to bring higher education to those not in the immediate vicinity. The Riverview Education Center in Raymond and the Columbia Education Center in Ilwaco provide convenient access to Pacific County residents, and a robust offering of courses and programs available fully online through eLearning, allow GHC to extend beyond our original service area.

Grays Harbor College Student Body

With three Bachelor of Applied Science programs, nine transfer degrees, and nearly twenty professional/technical degrees, students choose to come to Grays Harbor College for a variety of reasons. Many students choose to earn their associate degrees at GHC before transferring to a college or university where they complete their majors. Nearly as many students choose to come to GHC to earn a professional/technical degree that leads directly to a career. A growing number of students are choosing to earn their Bachelor of Applied Science degree at GHC in order to earn work as teachers, in businesses or in nonprofits, or in forest resource management. Still others come to GHC to complete their high school diplomas or earn their GEDs, or to improve their English. Some students come to take personal enrichment classes through community education.

GHC students include high school students participating in Running Start and Tech Prep, recent high school graduates, students who’ve decided to complete their education after stepping away from formal education, and students pursuing a change in careers.

Who Is Charlie Choker?

Charlie Choker - the GHC mascot, in use since the early 1950s, has in recent years become a common entry in “Top 10” lists for weirdest or most unusual mascots in the country. So who is this brawny, tough man of great strength, walking from the woods with a massive log on his shoulder? While the traditional, chubby-cheeked Charlie, crew-cut and bare-chested, will forever be near and dear to our hearts, in 2015, it was time to give him an updated look. Current students needed to understand what a choker-setteImage of Charlie Chokerr in the woods really does, how courageous a job that has always been. Working with graphic designer Amy Ostwald, a clearer story of Charlie Choker took shape. He now wears a hard hat for safety, along with the work shirt and heavy gloves of today’s logger. The tall trees in the background indicate his workspace. His connection to the College remains steadfast.

WImage of Charlie Choker Statueelcome Charlie Choker ‘15. Watch for him on the fields and courts, supporting our athletic teams. We have not forgotten or cast aside traditional Charlie, just giving him a well-deserved retirement while the younger generation takes over.

The GHC statue which welcomes students and guests to the campus was carved by Louis Benanto, Jr. in 1975. He began with a 15-foot by 8-foot cedar log and used a chain-saw to create Charlie.


Bishop Center for the Performing Arts

The Bishop Center for the Performing Arts is located on lower campus and offers a variety of arts and entertainment programming for students and the community to enjoy. There are local ensemble group performances, musicals, plays, concerts, comedy shows, multicultural performances, and more! 

Students are eligible for free tickets to nearly all events at the Bishop Center for Performing Arts throughout the year. Visit the website www.ghc.edu/bishop for upcoming events and information.

GHC Choker Athletics

Grays Harbor College has an excellent athletic program, attracting students from throughout the country and across the globe. OBoth our women’s and women’s basketball programs hasve achieved excellence over the last fiveew years with appearances in the NWAC Championship Tournament, the women winning the NWAC Western Region during the 2017-2018 season and the men making the Sweet Sixteen in the 2019-2020 season. The men’s and women’s wrestling programs have won regional titles, national titles and produced more All- Americans than any other two-year college wrestling program in the Pacific Northwest.  The men’s team is coming off a 2nd place finish in the 2020 NCWA National Tournament while the women placed 3rd in the nation at the 2020 NCWA National tourney. The baseball and basketballsoftball teams were off to fantastic starts prior to the Spring Sports cancellations, both haveing increased their win totals each of the last several seasons and are striving to reach the NWAC Championship tournaments. The men’s golf program recent successes include all conference golfers and NWAC tournament victories. It is an exciting time to be involved in the sport programs at Grays Harbor College. GHC is a proud member of the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC). The men’s and women’s wrestling programs participate in the NCWA and WCWA respectively. 

The following sports are offered at Grays Harbor College:

Baseball: Fall ball season starts in September and spring season starts in January.
Basketball: Men’s and Women’s - first official practice is in September.
Golf: Men’s and Women’s - fall season starts in September and spring season starts the first of March.
Soccer: Women’s - first official practice is August 1.
Softball: Fall ball season starts in September and spring season starts in January.
Volleyball: Women’s - first official practice is August 1. *The volleyball team is on hiatus for the 2019-2020 season but is looking to rebuild for the 2020-21 season.
Wrestling: Men’s and Women’s season starts in October and ends in April.

Athletes interested in a sport should contact the coach well before the official season begins, or call the Athletic Director at (360) 538-4207. You can also fill out a prospective player profile by logging onto our athletic website. Go to the recruits tab and select Prospective Athlete Form. Completed forms will be directed to the head coach of each sport.

GHC Music Program

Students at GHC have many opportunities to be involved in music. Music courses include music theory and ear training, music fundamentals, music appreciation, and group piano. Private instruction is offered in voice, piano, woodwind, brass, percussion, guitar, and strings. Our instructors are experts, with experience in music performance, composition, and research.

GHC performing ensembles are open for majors and non-majors, and perform in the Bishop Center for the Performing Arts:

Symphony Orchestra
Pit Orchestra
Concert Band
Civic Choir
Jazz Choir
Jazz Band
Steel Drum Ensemble
Opera Workshop

The GHC Music program offers an Associate of Arts in Music for students who plan to transfer to music programs or schools at baccalaureate institutions. To find out more about GHC’s music program contact Dr. William Dyer, director of music: bill.dyer@ghc.edu or (360) 538-4171.

Grays Harbor College Foundation

The Grays Harbor College Foundation was established as a nonprofit Washington Corporation in 1963, making it one of the oldest community college foundations in Washington State. At inception, the Foundation was managed by a board of nine trustees that were civic-minded persons who agreed to give their time and energies on behalf of the college. Today, the Foundation’s board is comprised of over 20 civic-minded leaders from Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties who invest their time and energy into carrying out its mission.

For over 55 years, the Grays Harbor College Foundation has been dedicated to supporting the success of students and the academic environment at Grays Harbor College by pairing donor giving priorities with Grays Harbor College students and programs. Learn more about the Foundation’s various scholarship programs at www.ghc.edu/foundation. Contact us at 360.538.4024 or scholarships@ghc.edu.

World Class Scholars

The World Class Scholar (WCS) program started in 1993 to form a partnership between students, parents and Grays Harbor College. This partnership provides a pathway to a college education for students through Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties and provides partial scholarships to students who complete the program. Grays Harbor College recruits and administers the WCS program, often meeting with students as early on as 7th grade, which introduces the concept of higher education and a pathway to accessing it at Grays Harbor College. The Grays Harbor College Foundation funds the scholarship program through donations and grants, and annually presents scholarship awards to student recipients who completed the program. In 1999, WCS received the Innovation in Education Award from the United States Senate and to this day, continues to be a vital program to students in the Twin Harbors region. For more information, contact admissions@ghc.edu or call (360) 538-4026.

Equal Opportunity

Grays Harbor College provides equal opportunities and equal access in education and employment for all persons. The college does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, creed, religion, marital status, veteran status, genetics, or age in its programs, activities, and employment.  

The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies:

Title II/Section 504 Coordinator - Darin Jones, Chief Executive of Human Resources,  Grays Harbor College, 1620 Edward P. Smith Drive, Aberdeen, WA 98520, (360) 538-4234

Title IX Coordinator - Dr. Jennifer Alt, Vice President for Student Services, Grays Harbor College, 1620 Edward P. Smith Drive, Aberdeen, WA 98520, (360) 538-4066

For further information on notice of non-discrimination, visit https://ocrcas.ed.gov/contact-ocr for the address and phone number of the office that serves your area, or call 1-800-421-3481.

For further information on notice of non-discrimination, visit https://ocrcas.ed.gov/contact-ocr for the address and phone number of the office that serves your area, or call 1-800-421-3481.


Grays Harbor College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Accreditation of an institution of higher education by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities indicates that it meets or exceeds criteria for the assessment of institutional quality evaluated through a peer review process. An accredited college or university is one which has available the necessary resources to achieve its stated purposes through appropriate educational programs, is substantially doing so, and gives reasonable evidence that it will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Institutional integrity is also addressed through accreditation.

Accreditation by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities is not partial but applies to the institution as a whole. As such, it is not a guarantee of every course or program offered, or the competence of individual graduates. Rather, it provides reasonable assurance about the quality of opportunities available to students who attend the institution.

Inquiries regarding an institution’s accredited status by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities should be directed to the administrative staff of the institution. Individuals may also contact: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, 8060 165th Avenue N.E., Suite 100, Redmond, WA 98502, (425) 558-4224.

The College is a member of the Washington State Association of College Trustees (ACT), the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT), the Washington Association of Community and Technical Colleges (WACTC), and the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

For nearly a hundred years, Grays Harbor College has emphasized quality instruction in all our programs. We continue to build on the tradition.
Our classes are small, and no matter how good our programs are, we are always looking for ways to improve them. Our graduates have strong records of success in both continued college studies and in careers. Reports from Washington’s public universities show that students from GHC are successful when they transfer. Annual studies show that most students who complete professional and technical programs are now working in their chosen fields.