Vision, Mission, and College Priorities
Grays Harbor College inspires our students and enriches our community by providing positive growth through learning.
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.
- 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 enrollment, partnerships, and pathways to student achievement
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).
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 long time 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 Dual Credit (aka 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-setter in the woods really does, and 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.
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 chainsaw to create Charlie.
Bishop Center for the Performing Arts
The Bishop Center for the Performing Arts is located on the lower campus and offers a variety of arts and diverse programming for students and the community to enjoy. The college music department performs quarterly Steel Drum, Jazz Choir, and Jazz Band concerts. GHC sponsored music ensembles perform biannually, and include the Grays Harbor Symphony Orchestra, Grays Harbor Civic Choir, Grays Harbor Opera Workshop, and Grays Harbor Concert Band. In addition to serving as the performance venue for our GHC Music and Theater departments, you can experience 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 and a rich history of performing excellence, attracting students from around the country and across the globe. Both our men’s and women’s basketball programs have achieved excellence over the last five years with appearances in the NWAC Championship Tournament. The women won the NWAC Western Region during the 2017-2018 season and the men made it to 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 3rd place finish in the 2022 NWAC National Tournament while the women placed 3rd in the nation at the 2022 NWAC National tourney. The baseball and softball teams were off to a fantastic start prior to the 2020 Spring Sports cancellations, both having increased their win totals each of the last several seasons and are striving to reach the NWAC Championship tournaments. The 2022 Spring season for baseball has shown early promise with numerous victories against top-ranked opponents as they begin their assault on the climb to the NWAC mountaintop. The men’s golf program’s 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.
Cross Country: Women’s cross country will be added as a new sport beginning in August of 2022.
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.
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 find the coaches contact information on the website as well as the place where you can fill out a prospective player profile. Both of these can be achieved by logging onto our athletic website at GHCathletics.com. Go to the RECRUITS tab and select Prospective Athlete Form. Completed forms will be directed to the head coach of each sport as well as the Director of Athletics.
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:
Steel Drum Ensemble
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: email@example.com 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. The Foundation is committed to strengthening our community by serving Grays Harbor College and its students.
By pairing donor giving priorities with Grays Harbor College programs and students, the Foundation can promote student success and enrich the academic environment at GHC. Most notably, the Foundation offers students a variety of scholarship programs that help offset the cost of tuition, books, and fees. Learn more at www.ghc.edu/foundation. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360.538.4024.
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 email@example.com or call (360) 538-9020.
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) 538-4121
Title IX Coordinator - Kari Collen, Dean of Student Access and Success, 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.
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, www.nwccu.org.
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.