Wallace State Community College (WSCC) in Hanceville, Cullman County, is one of the largest institutions in the Alabama Community College System. The school enrolls more than 7,000 students each semester and has served hundreds of thousands of students since its establishment in 1966. WSCC employs 524 individuals, including 138 full time instructors.
WSCC was originally named the George C. Wallace State Trade School of Cullman County, with Ben Johnson named as director. The institution opened to students in 1966 with 11 instructors, 10 departments, and 59 students. James C. Bailey was appointed president on February 16, 1971, and served in that role until his retirement in 2003. Vicki P. Hawsey was named the third president of Wallace State in 2003. In early 2004, the college re-organized and a new Institutional Advancement Division was added. The Technical Division was renamed the Workforce Education Division to keep with the college's renewed emphasis on workforce training. An ambitious Technology Initiative provided state-of-the-art technological infrastructure and learning environments, and the college refocused its mission, with its diverse student body in mind, to create and offer as many opportunities for learning as possible. With state and federal funding, buildings were added for nursing education, additional technical programs, a cafeteria, agribusiness complex, library, health education building, coliseum and wellness center, forestry/nursery center, and a commerce and continuing education center.
Wallace State's physical campus spans more than 300 acres with 42 buildings. The curriculum offers approximately 60 majors leading to a degree or certificate as well as many academic transfer and short-term training opportunities, including the only two-year aviation program in Alabama. High school students may acquire college credit in academic transfer programs, career technical education, public safety, health care, and automotive technology. The college opened the new Ottis and Evelyn Burrow Center for the Fine and Performing Arts in 2010; it is named for local entrepreneur Ottis Burrow. The facility also houses the Evelyn Burrow Museum, which was constructed in 2005 and which houses art collector Evelyn Burrow's decorative arts collection—bronzes, art glass, porcelain and pottery, and a vast collection of horse figurines—valued at $9.5 million. Highlights from this 5,000-piece collection are on display in the museum.
To better fulfill the community college goal of providing instructional access to diversified populations, Wallace State Community College offers a variety of academic classes at off-campus sites including J. B. Pennington High School in Blountsville, Brewer High School in Eva, Addison High School, and Hayden High School. Several health programs also are offered at Bevill State Community College in Fayette and Hamilton, Northeast Alabama Community College in Rainsville, and Northwest Shoals Community College in Muscle Shoals.
The Student Services division provides a number of programs to help students succeed in college. With the college having more than 30 organizations and clubs, students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities, including intramural sports, student government, a drama club, and the student newspaper, The Mane Issue.
Wallace State athletic teams, nicknamed the Lions, include men and woman's basketball, baseball, softball, golf, soccer, and volleyball. From those teams have come several Olympic medalists, five national championships, 18 Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC) All-Sports Trophies, and numerous ACCC titles. The Wallace State softball team held the unique distinction in 2008 of being both National Champion and the top Academic Team in the National Junior College Athletic Association. Facilities include a 5,000-seat basketball and volleyball arena.