▲ Hundreds of students turned out en masse to protest budget cuts to the college in the late 1970s. current one rebuilt in 1964. Among other tasks, the sisters who lived there did the cooking, laundry and sewing for the Marist fathers, brothers and students. The Marist fathers and brothers lived in the building now known as Trustees’ House. In the decades to follow, dwindling enrollments and spiraling costs combined to bring an end to the Marist Preparatory Seminary, forcing it to close its doors in June 1969. It was this property that Jim Houlihan and Bob Cataldo from the community college system set their sights on for the future of Middlesex. MCC had initially begun by leasing space in the vacated buildings in 1972. But a few years later, rumors began swirling that MCC was going to be evicted from the Marist property altogether. That news set in motion a dramatic plan to secure the property permanently. TO THE LET TER When news reached Business Dean Carole Cowan that the college might lose its access to the Marist property, she and other campus administrators came up with a plan to bring the space crisis to light. Cowan engineered a letter-writing campaign to the state legislature on behalf of students and faculty demanding that the college be allowed to stay on the Marist property. Tight budgets, though, precluded faculty members from purchasing stamps to put on the letters, so Cowan personally bought the stamps. Faculty members had their entire classes write letters, making the college’s plea for help. “The letters made a huge difference,” recalled Cowan. “Students wrote things like ‘fix up this place,’ and ‘we need a new campus.’ Their messages were direct and weren’t being filtered, and they got the attention of both the press and the legislature. I remember having TV stations outside our offices at the VA and thinking, this just might work.” 31