By Christine Kowalski
Middlesex Community College was founded in 1966 as an annex to Manchester Community College. In its first years, MxCC rented space out of Woodrow Wilson high school where it conducted its classes. Office space for the college was located in private buildings on Hunting Hill Road and at Connecticut Valley Hospital (CVH).
When Middlesex first began, the college was in need of just about everything, faculty, supplies, facilities and even a location. Wesleyan University and the greater Middlesex county and neighbors were a tremendous help.
The Connecticut Valley Hospital (CVH) also allowed the students its use of Stanley Hall and pool and the city provided its facilities. The same year school began a financial foundation was established known as “Friends of Middlesex Community College” the group helped MxCC get off the ground and achieve their goals.
After two years of operation MxCC became an independent college from Manchester Community College and in 1973 moved to its present 38 acres in Middletown. “The relationship of our college to our community is growing. We note with pride the participation of members of the community in the learning processes here on our new campus at 100 Training Hill Road” Said Philip D. Wheaton a year before the school earned its first accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
One of MxCC’s founding fathers was Wilbert Snow. Snow was the president of the Connecticut Association Board of Education, and a chairman of the Middletown Board of Education for over thirty years. He was memorialized at MxCC with a building called “Snow Hall” after him.
The first president inducted was Dr. Phillip D. Wheaton. Wheaton followed the philosophy that students should be in charge of their own destiny, and believed in their contribution to their own education. Dr. Wheaton traveled around the world as a lecturer for the University of Maryland and after some time as an administrator for the university’s overseas division in Korea and Europe. Dr. Wheaton also taught in foreign countries such as, Germany, Korea, Newfoundland, France, Greenland, Morocco, Ethiopia, and Japan. Dr. Wheaton was also memorialized in Middlesex’s history with the building “Wheaton Hall.”
In 1977 Robert Chapman became the college’s second president and served until 1989. He earned an honorary
degree from MxCC for his exceptional performance and dedication as president which was awarded to him in 2011. He too had a building named after him that houses the library.
After Chapman’s term Leila Gonzales Sullivan became president and served from 1989 to 1995. Sharon Hart became president soon after in 1997 for three short years. In 2001 Wilfredo Nieves became president and served until 2010. In 2011 Anna Wasescha Middlesex’s current president came to term.
MxCC continues to grow and develop. In 1991 MxCC’s Ophthalmic Design and Dispensing program received accreditation which qualifies graduates interested in the program in at least 24 states. A Nature trail was added on in 1984 so that students could become more involved with their world around them.
Middlesex leaves a hard legacy to beat.