College History


State of NH Chapter 204 establishes “State Trade Schools” with the passage of House Bill 279. State Trade School of Portsmouth was founded within state college system to provide “trade and vocational training and retraining for the occupational adjustment of youths and adults and particularly to provide trade school facilities for veterans demobilized from the armed services…It is recognized that no such facilities are available within the state at the present time, that the need is sufficiently urgent to create an emergency and that prompt action is necessary.”

On July 17, the City of Portsmouth makes space available for rent within the Morley Button Factory. Classes started in the fall – making this the first operating school in the system. The first class consisted of 130 veterans of war. Tuition was$450 a year, and students could get scholarships for half that amount from the state. Emerson A. McCourt is appointed the first Principal.


The college becomes the New Hampshire Technical Institute – Portsmouth. The college had 9 Instructors and 5 Fields of Study: Machine Tool, Sheet Metal, Auto Mechanics, Electronics and Refrigeration.


Exeter School of Practical Nursing Started at Exeter Hospital. In 1966, upon completion of the Portsmouth Campus, the Nursing Program became a college offering. The college becomes the New Hampshire Vocational Technical Institute – Portsmouth.


The college moves from the Button Factory to a new building at 150 Greenleaf Avenue in Portsmouth. Dedication Ceremonies and Open House are held Wednesday, October 26, 1966. The college has an increase in enrollment and staff. Evening classes are offered. The Nursing and Drafting Programs move into the building as the Refrigeration and Sheet Metal programs are moved out.


Emerson A. McCourt is appointed the first Director of the College. The Board of Education authorized the institutes to grant the Associate Degree in Applied Science. Prior to this, graduates earned a diploma from their program.


The college becomes the New Hampshire Vocational Technical Institute – Portsmouth.


Robert E. Lloyd is appointed Director. The college becomes accredited by NEAS&C. This leads to an agreement between the Division of Post-Secondary Education and the University System of New Hampshire to allow transfer of credit.


The college’s LPN Nursing Program is tops in the Nation. The Helmsmen Basketball team becomes the 1981 Northern New England Small Conference Champions.


First classes are offered in a new building in Stratham, NH.


The College becomes New Hampshire Technical College-Stratham.


President William Clinton is Commencement Speaker for the college.


Pease Tradeport Satellite Campus opens at 67 New Hampshire Avenue.


The college becomes New Hampshire Community Technical College Manchester/Stratham.


Pease campus moves to 320 Corporate Drive and is named Pease Emerging Technology Center.


College becomes accredited by NEASC – CIHE


The Manchester and Stratham campuses separate. The College is now New Hampshire Community Technical College – Stratham.


The College becomes Great Bay Community College.


The College renovates and moves to the Portsmouth campus. The Stratham campus closes.


The College opens its new campus in Rochester. The center delivers traditional academic programs as well as programs in Advanced Composites Manufacturing.


In February, an additional 10,000 sq. ft. of classroom and lab space is added to the Rochester campus to meet industry needs.

In August, the new Student Success Center opens at the College’s Portsmouth campus. In addition to a gymnasium, student lounge, exercise and meeting spaces, the center will house a variety of intentionally designed student leadership programs central to the mission of the College