Timeline of Select Events in NVCC’s Early History
1930’s and 40’s “Waterbury is an educational Sahara.” Opportunities for higher education in the city are limited to Post Junior College and Perry Secretarial School (both of which trained women for office careers). Management courses for men are offered at YMCA.
1935 Waterbury Board of Education and the YMCA collaborate to offer college-level courses for credit as part of a program funded by the Works Progress Administration. The faculty calls it “Mattatuck Community College.” There are 300 students the first year and 33 courses to choose from. Other such programs are located in Hartford, New Haven, Meriden, New Britain and Winsted. Funding runs out a year later.
1940 Classrooms at the YMCA are used as the Waterbury Extension Center of the University of Connecticut. The University later opens a Waterbury branch on Charles Street in the old Bengal School building before moving to 32 Hillside Ave. in 1955 (and eventually moving downtown in 2003).
1964 Waterbury State Technical Institute, the precursor to Waterbury State Technical College, starts holding classes.
1966 Waterbury State Technical College, located in Founders’ Hall, graduates 13 students, including Henry Cipriano, a future business faculty member.
1967 Mattatuck Community College enrolls its first students. Dr. Charles B. Kinney, Jr., is the first president. Classes take place in the evenings at Kennedy High School. Tuition for full-time students is $50 per semester. Classes start at 2:30 pm (after dismissal of the high school students) and end at 10 pm.
“In retrospect, the whole first year was an act of faith. Students enrolled knowing nothing about any college facilities, the caliber of the faculty, or the ability of the administrative staff… The unique atmosphere which pervades any new undertaking affected both faculty and students… They were the ones who would create tradition. They would not let the many deficiencies get in the way of teaching and learning. For me, as president, it was the most exciting and the most fulfilling year of my educational career.” - - Dr. Charles Kinney
1968 The college seal, carved into the ceremonial mace, is first used at President Kinney’s inauguration. The circular design consists of a central flame representing intellect and imagination generated by a stylized bird, a symbol of the breath of life to the Native Americans of this region, carrying an arrow, a symbol of perseverance. Seven flames, representing the sun, radiate outward.
1969 Ralph Nader and Dick Gregory speak as part of the Concerns for Waterbury program.
1970 The State of Connecticut designates $5 million to build a Higher Education Complex. Although many want the campus to be downtown, the current site on Chase Parkway is eventually deemed “more accessible,” not only for Waterbury residents but also for commuters from nearby cities.
1971 Mattatuck Community College moves from Kennedy High School to a converted bowling alley on Harvester Road. With this move, the college is fully accredited by the New England Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools for the first time.
“Train tracks ran no more than 15 feet away from the building. Every time a train went by you had to stop talking because no one could hear you.” - - Prof. Jim Pronovost
1972 Faculty picket for union representation.
1974 To gain more space and relieve some of the overcrowding, pre-fabricated buildings are established for Mattatuck Community College at the site of Waterbury State Technical College.
1976 MCC offers General Biology 103 as an auto-tutorial, enabling students to listen to taped lectures, conduct experiments and review for weekly tests at their own pace.
1977 Mattatuck Community College building (now Kinney Hall) is completed.
1980 University of Connecticut building (now Ekstrom Hall), with facilities for math and science, is completed. Dr. Patricia Yarborough becomes the second President of Mattatuck Community College, and Charles A. Ekstrom is inaugurated as President of Waterbury State Technical College in the joint ceremony.
1981 The first flower (an impatiens) blooms in the college’s new greenhouse.
1982 An accreditation team from NEASC visits MCC during the week of October 18. Comprised of administrators from area community colleges, the team meets separately with MCC students, continuing education students and faculty/administrators in order to gauge their feelings towards the school.
Ms. Coyne, a member of the NEASC team, reports, “It is unusual to find such modern and extensive facilities at a community college.” Dr. Yarborough resigns in June and the Board of Trustees call on Dr. Kenneth Summerer to be the interim president.
1984 Dr. Richard L. Sanders becomes MCC president on July 1, 1984.
1992 Mattatuck Community College and Waterbury State Technical College are merged to form Naugatuck Valley Community-Technical College by the Connecticut General Assembly.
Sources: Mattatuck College, 20th Anniversary Booklet Mattatuck Community College, “The Arrow”