Established in 1961 as a unit of the State University of New York, Monroe Community College was a vision shared by a handful of industrious and determined business people, community leaders and government officials.
The time was right for MCC. Nationwide, a scattering of community colleges had begun to take root. For people who had been shut out of higher education, a publicly-funded two-year institution in their own community offered exciting new opportunities for growth.
The establishment of the College was led by local physician Dr. Samuel J. Stabins, who recognized the need to prepare students to work in local hospitals and health care facilities, and the first Board of Trustees comprised Rochester’s finest professionals in medicine, business, education and law. Leading the way in 1961 was Dr. Alice Holloway Young, founding trustee, board chair and chair emerita.
During the early months of 1962, Dr. Leroy Good was hired by the board as MCC’s founding president. Good, who already had successfully established community colleges in three other states, would make his mark in Rochester as well.
The College’s first home in Rochester’s former East High School at 410 Alexander Street had been condemned by the city as a fire hazard. That did not deter MCC founders who immediately went to work making the necessary renovations. On Sept. 19, 1962, the doors of MCC’s original campus swung open and welcomed 720 students. Three years later, in June 1965, MCC became the first college in the nation to receive accreditation within three years of its founding.
In 1968, the College responded to increasing enrollment by moving to a new campus on East Henrietta Road in Brighton. Over the years, MCC became the fastest growing community college in the state, increasing enrollment during the 1980s by more than 41 percent.
In 1991, the College announced plans for a second campus to serve a steady influx of students. The Damon City Campus, named in honor of longtime Trustee E. Kent Damon, opened its doors the following year in downtown Rochester, and educates students in law, criminal justice, human services and k-12 teaching.
To meet the needs of students to juggle college and family, the MCC Child Care Center opened in May of 1991. Certified by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the center cares for children who are eight weeks to five years old; during the summer, programs serve school-age children up to 11 years old.
In 1997, MCC opened the Applied Technologies Center, a 53,000-square-foot, $6.4-million facility on West Henrietta Road, serving some of the fastest-growing industries in the nation. About 1,000 full-time and part-time students, many of whom are employed in local industry, learn the latest methods in optical fabrication, precision machining, automotive technology, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
In 2002, MCC began comprehensively training the region’s first responders in a new 49,000-square-foot, $26-million regional emergency responder training complex. The Public Safety Training Facility on Scottsville Road, across from the airport, was created through a collaboration of regional emergency response organizations and Monroe County.
In 2003, MCC’s Housing and Residence Life program was launched with the dedication of the Alice Holloway Young Commons, named in honor of Dr. Young. In Fall 2007, Canal Hall was added to the commons, which is located on the north side of the Brighton Campus.
In December 2003, responding to the tragedy of Sept. 11th, the College launched its Homeland Security Training Institute to address the educational needs of those across the region faced with responding to natural and intentional disasters.
Three years later, the College answered the county’s call to provide education, training and resource development in the agriculture industry. MCC’s Agriculture and Life Sciences Institute was launched in January of 2007.
Through the years, MCC has continually grown in degree programs, educational initiatives and facilities to meet the community’s diverse needs. The College offers classes in extension sites at area high schools, serves seventh through 12th graders in precollegiate programs, and incorporates community activism – service-learning – into its courses. Embedded in its history, MCC embraces diversity and inclusion, offering activities and programs to enhance the personal and professional development of faculty, staff and students.
As rooted in its history, MCC will continue to respond to the changing requirements of the local community. Today, the College has served more than a quarter of a million people. In the last several years, MCC welcomed the new Louis S. and Molly B. Wolk Center for Excellence in Nursing and the PAC fitness and recreational facility, and now looks forward to the future of a new downtown campus space in the city of Rochester to meet evolving educational needs of people throughout our region.