▲ President James Houlihan in his office. are now recalled, the environment proved demoralizing to many, especially potential new employees. FIRST IMPRESSIONS MCC’s current president, Carole Cowan, recalls driving onto the campus for the first time to interview for a job as a faculty member in the business department in 1976. Faculty used any available space for staff meetings. ▲ “I came onto the VA grounds from the Bedford side, and drove into what I thought was a large, sprawling campus. The trees were in bloom, there were buildings spread out everywhere. I thought ‘This is a large college.’ Imagine what a huge disappointment it was to learn that the entire college was wedged into two buildings, cramped ones at that.” The brick buildings, commonly known as ‘Buildings 8 and 9,’ housed all of the classrooms, as well as the faculty and administrative offices. “They were two hospital buildings that had been retrofitted. In one case, a room that used to be a morgue became a faculty office. And the tunnel that connected the two buildings was an interesting place. That’s where you would meet the patients, many of them roaming around in their pajamas,” said Cowan. After joining the faculty, Cowan realized instantly what a huge task it would be to attract students to the campus. “You couldn’t encourage high school students to come on campus because you felt like you had nothing to show them. There was sub-par equipment and lackluster facilities, which made for a hard sell.” But Cowan, whose first office was a refurbished utility closet she shared with three other faculty members, believes it was the upbeat “can-do” attitude of the early faculty that kept the college afloat. “There was a small, dedicated group of individuals who did whatever it took to get things done, and did it to the benefit of our students, under less-thanperfect conditions,” Cowan recalled. 17