▲ Dobelle thoroughly enjoyed watching MCC students graduate. After Carter lost his second White House bid in 1980, Dobelle began reassessing what he wanted to do with his own career, and decided to explore pursuing a career in higher education in Massachusetts. He knew immediately that his lack of an advanced degree needed to be addressed, and spent most of the 1980s beefing up that part of his resume, obtaining a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University and an Ed.D. in education from the University of Massachusetts. In 1986, friends and colleagues tried to encourage him to interview for a job at the University of Iowa, but he declined, preferring to stay closer to home. He next met with education advisors to Governor Michael Dukakis, who recommended he consider a job at a Massachusetts community college. “Some of my mentors advised against it – thought it would lock me into a two-year institution – but I thought it would be entrepreneurial, kind of like being a mayor,” he said. “I saw community colleges as the most democratic of academic institutions.” Upon hearing about the opening at Middlesex, created by Houlihan’s departure in 1987, Dobelle quickly applied and offered a compelling argument as to why the college would be smart to take a risk on a risk-taker. He interviewed with the search committee at a Burlington, Massachusetts, hotel, and like Cowan, vividly recalls the first time he drove onto campus. “I said, ‘My God, what a huge operation,’ but then learned that the buildings were all part of the VA hospital complex. So, I kept driving and finally found the college in the psychological wing of the VA. It was just so very odd, it was 44