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s the grand finale to its 40th
anniversary celebration, Middlesex
produced a commemorative
hardcover book that chronicles the
college's history, Celebrating a Forty Year
Legacy of Learning
. The book was first
presented by President Carole Cowan to
Priscilla Houlihan, wife of the late Dr.
James E. Houlihan Jr., MCC's founding
president, at the college's fall Opening Day
The book tells the story of the incredible
growth of the college, from humble
beginnings in the Bedford VA Medical
Center to the thriving, comprehensive
dual-campus settings in Bedford and
Lowell. It is packed with photos from the
college's earliest days to its most recent
Written by Patrick Cook, Executive
Director of Public Affairs, the book was
designed and edited completely in-house by
the staff in the Office of Marketing and
Cook presented his book idea to the MCC
Foundation early in the planning stages for
the 40th anniversary celebration. "The
thought was to put everything we knew
and everything we had and archive it in
one place," he said. "We did not document
the early days of the college very well, so
we had to pull together information from
boxes in the libraries, yearbooks, old
photos, old newsletters, facilities archives,
press releases, news clippings and personal
photo albums."
Dozens of people were interviewed from as
many MCC sectors as possible, especially
retirees and those who had an institutional
knowledge of early events. "Faculty and
staff from our earliest days had fascinating
stories of what it was like to start a
college," Cook said.
"Much of the college's early history was not
written down. People did not take photos
every day in the '70s and '80s. We were
often dealing with individual memories of
events. We wanted to document the early
story while we still could," Cook added.
With the team effort of the entire
Publications staff, many hours were spent
sorting through photo archives. "We were
really looking for the stories behind the
story," Cook said.
The MCC Foundation and the Middlesex
Board of Trustees were both very
supportive of the project, and many
members had their own tales to tell. The
book recognizes and applauds the
incredible efforts of the people in state
government who created and implemented
the community college system, especially
their drive to get the necessary funding in
tough economic times.
Cook acknowledged the book is thorough,
but not all encompassing. "We tried to
capture the essence of where we started,
where we blossomed, and where we are
now," he said. "I wrote the story, but the
folks at Middlesex are the story."
Deborah Kearney
Celebrating a Forty Year Legacy of Learning
Middlesex Community College: Celebrating
a Forty Year Legacy of Learning is now on
sale in the MCC bookstores and online for
$25. Visit to order
a copy online.
Author Patrick Cook on the rooftop
of MCC's Lowell City Building.