Retired Gen. Colin Powell spoke at Celebrity Forum 2000, prior to becoming U.S. Secretary of State. ▲ B R I N G I N G I N B I G NA M E S Right out of the gate, the new advancement team secured news legend Walter Cronkite to kick off Celebrity Forum in 1999, and signed local author Doris Kearns Goodwin to interview him on-stage in a relaxed format. The venue chosen was directly across the street from MCC’s Lowell campus, the Lowell Memorial Auditorium. “The whole notion from the outset was to think big. Luckily, our Foundation didn’t shy away from that approach, either,” Tsongas remembered. “I remember, we brought in Elaine Crandall (then MCC’s Director of Historic Properties) to help put a special touch on the event,” Tsongas recalled. “Walter Cronkite wanted to be interviewed on stage, so Elaine went about decorating a set, a touch that continues today. At the time, we were thinking quite differently than most educational institutions, and it helped attract a broad audience.” College and MCC Foundation leaders felt a corporate sponsor would elevate the event’s status and attract other community and business partners to be sponsors. The TJX Companies, Inc. agreed from day one to be Presenting Sponsor of Celebrity Forum, and has continued to support the program 90