▲ Local and federal officials completing the transfer of five acres of land to Middlesex from the U.S. Department of Health, Education & Welfare (HEW) included (seated, left to right) MCC President James Houlihan, HEW Regional Director Harold Putnam, and State Board of Community Colleges Executive Director John Costello; (standing, left to right) VA Hospital Director John Whelan, MCC Advisory Board Chairman Robert Mason and Robert Barton, Chairman of Bedford’s Board of Selectmen. “There was no question that I wanted to have a community college in my area, but as chairman, I felt responsible to take care of the other districts first, so Middlesex was actually the last of the sites I would tackle,” he said. “Politically, I felt it was the right thing to do.” Middlesex ended up being the last community college Cataldo was responsible for locating while serving on the design and selection board. The debate played out quickly, and in the end, Cataldo and Costello made and won their naming argument. On Valentine’s Day 1969, the Massachusetts Board of Regional Community Colleges voted and made the name official: “The name of the college was established as Middlesex Community College,” the board wrote in a letter to the Secretary of State. Two months later, in April 1969, Cataldo began working with the person chosen to be the first president of Middlesex, Dr. James E. Houlihan Jr. of Wayland, Massachusetts. Houlihan had been a dean at Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester, Massachusetts. He also had an impressive pedigree, having received his bachelor of art degree from Harvard College in 1948, his master of arts from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1951, and his Ph.D. from the Boston University School of Arts and Sciences in 1961. Together, the two men helped negotiate the deal that would “temporarily” land the fledgling Middlesex Community College on the grounds of the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Bedford. Two buildings at the medical center had been freed up for use by the college due to a reduction in patient load and were the best available option at the time. The hospital was viewed as a key partner, because it afforded the college the opportunity for a partnership that would allow it access to clinical facilities for the development of programs such as nursing, dental hygiene and medical laboratory technician. With an address secured, development of the first classes to be offered at the college began. 7