From its humble beginnings in the town of Conshohocken to its three locations spanning across the county today, Montgomery County Community College has come a long way in 55 years.
MCCC celebrated its 55th anniversary on Founders’ Day on Dec. 10, recalling the vision of its founders, acknowledging its milestones and looking ahead to new plans on the horizon.
“Today, we’re celebrating the 55th anniversary of Montgomery County Community College by remembering the early founders who had the vision, determination and grit to create an institution that would make quality higher education accessible to all learners,” said Dr. Victoria Bastecki-Perez, MCCC’s Interim President. “We also acknowledge and thank all past and current faculty, administrators, staff, supporters, and county, business and community partners who have collectively made MCCC what it is today – the region’s resource hub for providing quality education, workforce solutions and cultural opportunities.”
Montgomery County Commissioners Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, Chair; Kenneth E. Lawrence, Jr., Vice Chair; and Joseph C. Gale, presented MCCC with a proclamation, which acknowledged the founders and their vision.
“We are grateful that 55 years later, we have this exceptional resource that provides higher education to our residents and contributes to the economic well-being of Montgomery County,” said Arkoosh, as they presented the proclamation.
Coinciding with the day’s festivities, MCCC held its Day of Giving (the College’s own version of Giving Tuesday) with a goal of raising $5,500 for support programs and scholarships for students. By the end of the 24 hours, MCCC raised $15,796 with participation from 67 donors – the largest amount raised during one day for the College.
MCCC opened its doors in October 1966 in the former Conshohocken High School building with 428 students, 17 faculty and programs in 13 areas of study. Within a few years, MCCC quickly outgrew its space and moved to its new Central Campus in Blue Bell in 1972, with more than 4,000 full- and part-time students. Today, MCCC serves over 19,000 credit and non-credit students and offers more than 100 programs in 50 areas of study.
As Montgomery County grew, so did MCCC. In 1996, MCCC opened its West Campus in Pottstown at 101 College Drive, which is now South Hall. Today, the West Campus includes South Hall, North Hall at 16 E. High Street, the Sustainability and Innovation Hub at 140 College Drive and its Workforce Development division building at 95 S. Hanover Street.
MCCC expanded into Lansdale when it opened its Culinary Arts Institute in 2013, offering degree and certificate programs in culinary arts and baking and pastry.
In 2016, MCCC completed the renovation of its former physical education building on Central Campus, transforming it into a state-of-the-art Health Sciences Center where MCCC’s health science programs are taught, including nursing, dental hygiene, massage therapy and its newly accredited physical therapist assistant program.
This year, MCCC launched its new Tourism & Hospitality Management program to prepare students for the region’s growing tourism and hospitality industry, which accounts for more than 20,000 jobs in the county and $1.65 billion in spending.
In spring 2020, MCCC will launch its new varsity sports program – Mustangs eSports. Teams have been practicing in recent months to compete in the electronic video-gaming sports with other colleges and teams in the region. The new coed program enables students of all abilities to participate in athletics.
Looking ahead, MCCC will be renovating its West Campus in Pottstown and preliminary plans include a Challenger Center, a K-12 STEM program that features space-themed simulation experiences. The Center would be the first of its kind in Pennsylvania.
MCCC’s anniversary ceremony concluded with a cake prepared by MCCC’s culinary students Theresa Musso, Isabella Vitelli, Alexa Peirson and Silke Mitchell.
Feature Photo: Montgomery County Community College’s Culinary Arts students prepared a special cake for the college’s 55th anniversary. From left: Montgomery County Commissioner Joseph C. Gale, Montgomery County Commissioner Vice Chair Kenneth E. Lawrence, Jr., Montgomery County Commissioner Chair Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, Theresa Musso, Isabella Vitelli, Alexa Person, MCCC Interim President Dr. Victoria Basteck-Perez, MCCC Alumni Association Board Chair William Vitiello, MCCC Board of Trustees Chair Frank X. Custer, MCCC Public Health Instructor Gifty Key, Achieving the Dream President/CEO & MCCC President Emerita Dr. Karen A. Stout and MCCC Psychology Professor Dr. Mary Lou Whitehill. Photo by Linda Johnson