Historical Timeline



  • Middlesex opens doors in two leased buildings at Bedford VA HospitalA headshot of MCC President James Houlihan
  • Dr. James E. Houlihan Jr. – first/founding president
  • Fall ’70 enrollment: 573 day students; 283 evening students
  • Student Government Association founded


  • Continuing Education courses offered at the Bedford campus, Arlington and Woburn high schools, and Hanscom Air Force Base
  • Student Clubs founded: Humanities, Hypnosis & Psychic Phenomenon, Outing, Photography, Radio, Secretarial and Ski

1972MCC Burlington Campus Building

  • To accommodate growing enrollment, two buildings leased on Marist Brothers property, 1.5 miles north of VA Bedford campus
  • First Commencement – 230 graduates
  • Women’s Opportunity Research Center (WORC) founded


  • MCC accredited by New England Association of Schools & Colleges
  • Enrollment: 1,000+ day students, 1,700 evening students

MCC Bedford campus building in 1974

  • Enrollment in Continuing Education courses grows to 3,910
  • MCC has largest noncredit numbers of all Massachusetts community colleges


  • Dental Hygiene Clinic on Bedford campus provides low-cost services: teeth cleaning ($2) and complete set of dental X-rays ($3)
  • Tuition: $150 per semester


  • Fifth commencement – 544 graduates; speaker: Gov. Michael S. Dukakis
  • Women’s Opportunity Research Center (WORC) name changed to Widening Opportunity Research Center to reflect growing service to entire community

MCC's first cheerleader team

  • First TV courses, The Community College on the Air, offered on WGBH, WGBX and WGBY
  • MCC has 26 men’s and women’s sports teams


  • State buys Marist Brothers property for permanent Bedford campus
  • MCC Health Service Center opens
  • Community Service Division launched to meet local employment, recreational and personal-enrichment needs


  • MCC leads all other Massachusetts community colleges in percentage of admitted students that graduate
  • Applications to MCC increase more than 30 percent

THE SECOND DECADEAriel shot of the Bedford campus


  • MCC turns 10
  • Enrollment: 8,000 total (1,400 full-time credit students)


  • Burlington campus opens
  • MCC Board of Trustees established


  • Continuing Education Division leads MA community colleges in enrollment with 6,542 credit-course registrations
  • Summer Computer Camps for Kids launched

1983North Academic on the Bedford Campus

  • Free-tuition program for unemployed MA workers introduced
  • First graduates of MCC/Lowell General Hospital Nursing Program – 28 students


  • Business & Industry Programs launched
  • MCC Women’s Basketball team wins Eastern Division Championship


  • Transition Program begins
  • McDonald’s & MCC team up to promote Children’s Dental Health Month – 500 coupons distributed in local Happy Meals for free teeth cleaning at MCC Dental Hygiene Clinic


  • Commencement – 700+ graduates; speaker: William M. Bulger, president MA Senate
  • Annual tuition: $672


  • Lowell campus opens in temporary location
  • Improvements made to Burlington campus

1988MCC President Dobelle giving a speech

  • Dr. Evan S. Dobelle, renowned educator and administrator with nationwide experience, named second Middlesex president
  • State approves $36.4 million bond measure to build permanent campuses in Bedford and Lowell
  • MCC Foundation established


  • Wider Horizons Program begins
  • MCC Law Center founded
  • Lowell Middlesex Academy launched
  • MCC welcomes two Institute of International Education Fellows – one of first community colleges among universities and four-year colleges selected

Headshot of MCC President Carole Cowan


  • Dr. Carole Cowan appointed third Middlesex president
  • Construction begins on permanent Bedford campus
  • MCC begins affiliation with the East West Summer Institute and the University of Hawaii’s Asian Studies Development Program
  • First international exchange professor arrives from Budapest, Hungary; MCC professor teaches at Budapest Technical University


  • Permanent Lowell campus opens in former Wang Educational Center
  • MCC Foundation launches first major fund drive in Middlesex history
  • Trustees vote to purchase Middle Street property for Health, Science & Technology Center


  • Permanent Bedford campus opens
  • International Student Fellowships Program founded
  • MCC honored for best international education programs by National Council of Instructional Administrators and AACJC; award recognized Asian Studies Program and curriculum development projects initiated by President Cowan in 1990.


  • MCC Foundation purchases/renovates Lowell’s historic John Nesmith House
  • MCC leaves the VA Building; Dental Hygiene Program moves to Lowell campus
  • Service-Learning pilot program launched – 50 MCC students participate in community service during Spring Break


  • MCC Core Curriculum starts
  • First Arts & Crafts Fair held on Bedford campus
  • President Cowan tapped for leadership role in American Association of Community Colleges international initiatives


  • Health, Science & Technology Center opens
  • Lowell Middlesex Academy becomes Lowell Middlesex Academy Charter School – one of the first Massachusetts charter schools


  • First online course offered – English Composition, 6 students enrolled
  • Lowell’s historic Federal Building acquired from U.S. government
  • MCC selected as only college to operate a One-Stop Career Center: The Career Place.


  • B.R.I.D.G.E. Program opens for Lowell-area at-risk middle school students
  • Individual Honors Courses offered

1998Walter Cronkite celebrity forum poster from 1999

  • Lowell Small Business Assistance Center opens
  • Lowell Connections Program founded (MCC/UMass partnership)
  • M.I.L.E.S. Program for active older adults begins
  • MCC creates Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning – one of the first colleges to do so


  • MCC Foundation launches Celebrity Forum benefit speaker series with Walter Cronkite and Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • MCC launches Crossroads, one-year experiential program for high school graduates undecided about future
  • education/career choices



  • MCC Foundation purchases (and saves) Billerica’s historic Stoker House
  • Celebrity Forum speaker: Colin Powell


  • Celebrity Forum speakers: former President George H. Bush and Barbara Bush
  • Links Program for adult learners launched, funded by MCC/Massachusetts Department of Education
  • Journalist Ray Suarez and Robert Pinsky, former U.S. Poet Laureate, speak as part of One World Series
  • MCC launches MiddleNet, new online registration/enrollment service


  • Honors Program launched
  • Six faculty members travel to Cambodia on U.S. State Department Fulbright-Hays Group Research Project
  • Celebrity Forum speaker: Rudy Giuliani

Federal Building in Lowell

  • Middlesex Meetinghouse restored and opened near Bedford Campus
  • MCC Leadership Management Institute launched
  • Middlesex & Salem State College partner to off er bachelor’s degree-completion programs
  • Author Frank McCourt speaks as part of One World Series
  • Celebrity Forum speaker: David McCullough


  • Grand Opening of Federal Building on Lowell campus
  • Lowell Police Academy moves to Lowell campus
  • Celebrity Forum speaker: Barbara Walters


  • Central Administration Building on Bedford campus dedicated to Robert Cataldo
  • MCC Program on Homeland Security established
  • Celebrity Forum speaker: Tim Russert


  • MCC Foundation Annual Fund launched
  • MCC/Lahey Clinic Nursing Partnership Program begins
  • Celebrity Forum speaker: Geena Davis

2007Paul Sullivan Leadership group

  • Federal Building dedicated to Congressman F. Bradford Morse
  • Paul H. Sullivan Leadership Institute established
  • Center for Community Engagement opens
  • Celebrity Forum speakers: Mike & Chris Wallace
  • MCC selected to AAC&U’s Core Commitments Leadership Consortium


  • Boston & Maine Railroad Depot building in Lowell acquired
  • Lowell’s Derby Park Culture Garden dedicated
  • Veterans Resource Center established
  • Celebrity Forum 10th anniversary speaker: comedian Jay Leno


  • MCC Fitness Trail opens (connects to state-wide trail system)
  • Weekend College begins
  • Celebrity Forum speaker: Sarah Ferguson
  • International peace activist Padraig O’Malley speaks at MCC
  • MCC students named national champions in Federal Reserve’s FedChallenge Competition (second year in a row)


  • Middlesex turns 40 and celebrates with a Grand Gala, Parades and Special Events
  • Celebrity Forum speaker: Ken Burns
  • MCC’s Transition Program celebrates its 25th anniversary
  • Middlesex named a Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs



  • Celebrity Forum speaker: Robin Roberts
  • MCC awarded Planning Grant to promote Entrepreneurship in Morocco
  • Middlesex students launch 1,000 Cranes Campaign to help earthquake victims
  • Federal Building wins Historic Preservation Award
  • Bedford Library dedicated to first MCC president Dr. James E. Houlihan Jr.


  • MCC Academy of Health Professions recognized by Gov. Patrick
  • Middlesex students help build habitat homes in Cambodia
  • Celebrity Forum speaker: Michael J. Fox
  • Lowell campus turns 25


  • Middlesex opens two new laboratories on Lowell campus
  • Sean Penn headlines Haiti Panel at MCC
  • MCC awarded Life Science Grant
  • Celebrity Forum speakers: Former First Lady Laura Bush and Jenna Bush Hager
  • MCC awarded $40,000 NEA Grant


  • MCC completes Title III grant
  • Middlesex awarded $3 million grant to build new biotech facility
  • Celebrity Forum speaker: Robert Redford
  • MCC and other Mass. community colleges awarded $20 million federal grant to support STEM

2015MCC President James Mabry

  • Dr. James C. Mabry appointed fourth MCC president
  • Celebrity Forum speaker: William Shatner
  • MCC awarded two federal grants for TRIO Student-Support Programs
  • Middlesex awarded state grant to boost STEM students


  • MCC awarded Mass. Skills Capital Grant
  • Celebrity Forum speakers: Kathy Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb
  • Middlesex awarded grant to expand study abroad program
  • MCC health career programs receive national recognition


  • MCC joins partnership to support engineering transfer students 
  • Food pantries open on both campuses
  • Celebrity Forum speaker: David Ortiz
  • Middlesex opens cybersecurity lab
  • $1.7 million grant awarded to support Asian American students & opens Asian American Student Center

2018MCC's Academic Arts Center

  • Northeastern University and Middlesex offer scholarship for biotech students with A2M initiative
  • Celebrity Forum speaker: Jamie Lee Curtis
  • MCC rated one of best online colleges in Mass. 
  • Middlesex named top community college in Mass.
  • MCC awarded $2.5 million grant to continue college-awareness program
  • Middlesex Opens Academic Arts Center on Lowell campus


  • Online Business Administration Program Ranks in Top 50 in the country
  • MCC Law Center’s Consumer Protection Program Awarded Funding
  • Middlesex students advocate for community colleges at Boston State House
  • MCC awarded funding to partner with Lowell Healthcare Businesses


  • MCC celebrates 50 years
  • Amid pandemic, Middlesex transitions most courses and student services to online formats
  • Middlesex awarded $841,000 for biotech program
  • U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia W. Patrick Murphy visits MCC 
Last Modified: 2/12/21