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Profiles
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Also hired in 1970, now retired English
Professor Raymond Shea was also a charter
faculty member. He vividly remembers
how MCC's location, on the grounds of a
veterans hospital while the Vietnam War
was raging, set a unique tone.
"You were always aware of the heavy
reality of broken men and war," said Shea.
"The place had a sobering reality that was
different from your typical college
campus," he said.
Shea remembers with great fondness the
camaraderie of the VA years. "There was a
strong sense of togetherness among the
faculty and staff. People from different
divisions often shared offices," he said.
"The college was new and we had a lot of
freedom to develop creative, imaginative
course curriculums."
As Middlesex enrollments quickly grew,
more classroom space was desperately
needed. In 1972, the college began leasing
classroom and office space at the Marist
Brothers seminary, located less than two
miles up Springs Road from the Bedford
VA hospital. After students, faculty and
friends of the college waged a massive
letter-writing campaign to the legislature
in 1978, the state finally purchased the
200-acre Marist property for a permanent
Bedford campus.
Mathematics Professor Phil Mahler, who
was hired in 1982, taught courses at the
VA and up the road at what was then
called the North Campus. He, too, enjoyed
the collegiality of those early years.
"Everything was so compressed
all the faculty offices were located up and
down one hall at the VA," said Mahler.
"To this day, I know a lot of the Dental
Hygiene instructors because they had to
walk by my office to get to the ladies
room," he said, laughing.
"Middlesex was a fun place to be during
those early years," said Lois Alves, who was
hired as Registrar in 1981. Now Vice
President of Enrollment Services, Research
& Planning, Alves recalls the 1980s and
'90s as a time of tremendous growth and
change for the college.
"My goodness, we were growing! Right
after I came, we expanded to the
Burlington campus," said Alves. "In 1987,
we opened a temporary Lowell campus.
And in 1992, the new Bedford campus
officially opened."
Funding was secured from the state
legislature for permanent Middlesex
campuses in Bedford and Lowell under
MCC's second president, Evan S. Dobelle,
who was appointed in 1988.
In 1991, the permanent Lowell campus
opened in the former Wang Educational
Center in the heart of downtown. And on
Bedford's North Campus, prefabricated
buildings were trucked in to speed up
construction.
"The Bedford campus came in 175 pieces
on flatbed trucks and was put together like
a giant Lego set," said Falcetta, laughing.
The new campus, literally, grew up around
them, recalled Alves.
"Classes never stopped. One day, I parked
my car in the morning and when I came
out at the end of the day, the dirt road to
the parking lot was gone," said Alves.
"They had literally re-graded the entire
area while we were inside at a meeting."
Construction was completed under the
direction of MCC's third and current
president, Carole A. Cowan, who was
appointed in late 1990. When the Bedford
campus opened in 1992, everybody agreed
the dust, noise and inconvenience and
the wait had been more than worth it,
according to Falcetta.
"For those of us who had been there since
the early days, to finally have that new
campus was like the Fourth of July," said
Falcetta.
"Not only was it done, it was done well.
Finally, we had a facility that our students,
faculty and staff and our community
deserved," Falcetta said. "It made people
very proud to be at Middlesex."
Kathy Register
When construction began in 1990, prefabricated buildings were assembled around existing facilities on the 200-acre former Marist Brothers seminary property;
MCC's new Bedford campus opened in 1992.
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