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MCC's Presidents
A Trio of Hard Working, Visionary Leaders
nly three individuals have
served as president of
Middlesex Community
College during its 40-year
history: James E. Houlihan Jr., Evan J.
Dobelle and Carole A. Cowan. Each
has brought their personalities, unique
skills and special talents to the job.
And, the college is infinitely richer for
their service and vision.
Founding President Jim Houlihan was
hired in 1969 to open the 13th of the
state's 15 community colleges.
"I would describe the years under
Houlihan as more inward looking," said
Frank Falcetta, a charter faculty
member and administrator who worked
at MCC for more than 30 years. "We
thought of ourselves as a `junior'
college focused on helping students
Through a combination of patience
and perseverance over his 18-year
tenure, Houlihan put Middlesex on the
map. By the time he retired in 1987,
MCC also had campuses in Burlington
and Lowell.
MCC's second president, Evan
Dobelle, took the reins in 1988. "Evan
really shook the place up," said
Falcetta. "He raised the institution's
profile. We kind of morphed from a
college where people dressed in tweeds,
to one where the faculty wore business
suits," he said.
An administrator who moved easily in
political circles, Dobelle was president
just short of three years. But he is
credited with pushing through the
legislation that funded MCC's
permanent campuses.
"Evan is a change agent. He comes in,
shakes up an institution, and moves
on," said Falcetta. "But he was the right
person at the right time. He was able to
make sure we got the money to build a
permanent campus," he said.
"We were a small college, doing little
things," said Lois Alves, who was hired
as Registrar in 1981 and is now Vice
President of Enrollment Services,
Research & Planning. "Then, Evan
came in and said, `There's a whole big
world out there and lots more we can
do.' " And, Carole Cowan was
Dobelle's right-hand person, Alves
Cowan came to Middlesex as a business
Every big decision or
major discussion always
comes back to one question:
`What impact will this
have on our students?'
In Carole's book,
students come first.
Lois Alves,
Vice President of Enrollment
Services, Research & Planning