by Diane VanDyke
As 2014 begins to unfold, Montgomery County Community College’s will start to celebrate its 50th year of thinking big and providing high-quality, accessible higher education for the citizens of Montgomery County and beyond.
“Fifty years ago, Montgomery County Community College was founded on the bold belief that education has the power to transform lives and communities. The College’s early visionaries laid the framework for what we are today—a community hub for education, innovation, workforce training and cultural activity,” says MCCC President Dr. Karen A. Stout. “We are proud to celebrate our 50th anniversary. This is a special time to reflect upon our accomplishments, thank the people who made those achievements possible and look forward to thinking bigger for the next 50 years.”
More than 50 years ago in 1963, Pennsylvania passed the Community College Act, which provides the legal framework for the establishment of community colleges in the Commonwealth. Even before the ink was dry on the new legislation, a Montgomery County steering committee investigated and confirmed the need for a community college in the County. The College was officially established on Dec. 8, 1964 and opened its doors in October 1966 in the former Conshohocken High School Building at Fayette and 7th streets in Conshohocken. In 1972, it moved to its current location at 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, and in 1996, the West Campus in Pottstown opened. In the fall 2013, the College opened its new state-of-the-art Culinary Arts Institute, 1400 Forty Foot Rd., Lansdale. For the future, the College is currently in the planning stages of transforming its existing Physical Education building into a Health Sciences Center.
The College will host a kickoff event for the anniversary year on Monday, Jan. 27, noon-1:30 p.m. in the Parkhouse Hall atrium in Blue Bell, with a simulcast to the South Hall Community Room, West Campus, 101 College Drive, Pottstown. During the event, Dr. Stout will introduce a preview of the documentary film, “The History of Montco, A Documentary.” The film was created by two MCCC alumni, Joe Sapienza and Sean King, with Austin Lepri, a student at Drexel University where Sapienza now attends. The film will be shown in two parts on Feb. 14 and 19, starting at 12:20 p.m. at both campuses.
In commemoration of this golden anniversary milestone, the College will be hosting a series of events for the community throughout 2014, including performances by Madhouse Theater Company (featuring MCCC faculty) on Jan. 23 and 25; an alumni basketball game on Feb. 8; a performance by Beatles tribute band, Strawberry Fields, on Feb. 15; the Richard K. Bennett Distinguished Lectureship on March 3 featuring Todd Gitlin and his book, The Sixties and the Twilight of Common Dreams; and a Presidential Symposium featuring civil rights activist Judy Shepard on March 27, to name a few. A list of events for the spring can be viewed at mc3.edu/50.
Additionally, students, staff and faculty will perform “50 Acts of Kindness” throughout the year by volunteering with various community projects, starting with the Fourth Annual College-Wide Day of Service on Jan. 20. College volunteers will do maintenance and clean-up projects at the Elmwood Park Zoo and Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Norristown and the Olivet Boys and Girls Club in Pottstown.
In the fall, the College will host a special program to honor the “Fabulous 50 Alumni,” friends and supporters of the College. The year of festivities will conclude with a birthday celebration on Dec. 8, 2014.
More About Montgomery County Community College:
Montgomery County Community College boasts a nationally recognized, award-winning faculty committed to working closely together with students in the learning process. The College’s comprehensive curriculum includes more than 100 degree and certificate programs, a virtual campus, and specialized workforce development and continuing education programs, all of which leverage the College’s nationally ranked use of innovative technology. The College is recognized nationally for its work in sustainability and student success and is one of only 73 institutions in the country to be designated as an Achieving the Dream Leader College.
According to a 2013 Economic Impact Study by Education Modeling Specialists Inc., Montgomery County Community College provides a 16.3 percent return on investment for students during the course of their lifetime. For every dollar students invest in the College’s education, they receive a cumulative $6 in higher future income over their working careers. Further, Montgomery County Community College provides a benefit-to-tax cost ratio of 21.6 to 1, which means every dollar of state and local tax money invested in the College yields a cumulative $21.60 in benefits that accrue to all Pennsylvania residents in terms of added taxable income and avoided social costs.
For more information about the College’s 50th anniversary, visit mc3.edu/50.