Enterprise State Community College (ESCC) is headquartered in Enterprise, Coffee County. Since it was established in 1965, the school has been expanded to include campuses at Albertville, Andalusia, Dothan, Fort Novosel, and Mobile, and it coordinates and administers major aviation training programs in the state.
When Alabama’s public junior college system was established in 1963, Enterprise was selected as the site of one of the state’s 12 original two-year colleges. Known then as Enterprise State Junior College, the institution was first headed by B. A. Forrester. Local citizens raised funds to purchase 100 acres for the campus, donated books for the library, and funded scholarships. In the fall of 1965, the first students registered for classes, which were initially held in a local Methodist church while the campus was being constructed. The following fall, students attended class at the present campus for the first time.
After Forrester retired in 1981, long-time dean Joseph D. Talmadge was appointed president. He oversaw the creation of the ESCC Foundation in 1982 to develop an endowment program that funds student scholarships and other college projects and enhancements. Also, the college began offering credit courses and non-credit short courses at what was then Fort Rucker (now Fort Novosel) in 1983. Talmadge retired in 1994, and Stafford L. Thompson was appointed interim president and then president on March 28, 1996. Thompson supervised a major reorganization of the college that included taking over state aviation training programs, including the Aviation Campus at Ozark and the Aviation Center at Mobile, which was overseen by George C. Wallace Community College-Dothan. The college subsequently was renamed Enterprise-Ozark Community College. Thompson also obtained funding to build aviation training centers in Ozark and Andalusia. In 2008, under ESCC, the new Aviation Technical Training Center on the Aviation Campus in Ozark opened its doors for classes.
Thompson retired July 1, 2008, and was succeeded by Faulkner State Community College vice president Nancy W. Chandler, who was appointed president of the college on May 28, 2009. Also that spring, the Alabama Aviation Center at Albertville opened, expanding the school’s aviation maintenance program. In December 2009, the BoE renamed the school Enterprise State Community College and designated the aviation programs the Alabama Aviation Center, a Unit of Enterprise State Community College. In 2010, a certification program began that will teach students to create three-dimensional models and simulations, skills that may be applied to businesses, the military, and the entertainment industry.
Students at ESCC have a variety of organizations to choose from, including the school’s much-honored show choir. ESCC also has a long-established chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the national honor society of American two-year colleges. ESCC currently fields athletics teams in men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, and softball, competing in the Alabama Community College Conference. The college mascot is the boll weevil. ESCC also houses a collection of theatre memorabilia donated by James Hatcher, a nationally recognized theatre director and producer. Current enrollment at ESCC numbers approximately 2,200 students in credit courses. The college employs approximately 395 individuals.