McHenry County College Begins 40th Year

1967 was the year that the referendum to create McHenry County College was passed.

I think the date was April 1st.

A yearlong celebration was kicked off Sunday with a brunch in the gym.

I arrived late because I didn’t want to miss Hope College student Michael Golden’s sermon at the 11 o’clock service at the First United Methodist Church of Crystal Lake. As usual he brought a contingent of enthusiastic Hope students.

I guess I got invited to the MCC luncheon because I was at the first meeting at Crystal Lake Community High School’s lunch room that was called by my father.

As I entered, current MCC President Walt Packard was asking those who had been on that committee to stand. Only Iris Bryan stood. Iris was Publicity Chairman and I assisted her.

Other “Founders,” as the badges given out for the dedication for the new building read, still around. Dad’s former neighbor Dan Malone comes to mind, but he wasn’t present.

Packard introduced other categories of those invited and, afterwards, I met Bob Schoenbeck of Hebron, who ran for first MCC Board when my father was elected.

Packard reflected upon the continuation of the twin goals of the college:

  • Affordability and
  • Accessibility

He mentioned briefly the health, wellness and athletic complex planned and drew a classical allusion to Janus, the Roman god with two faces, one looking forward and the other looking backward.

We honor our past.

We honor our present.

We plan for our future.

Suzanne Wallace, a speech profession since the beginning, told of “the dark dank basement atmosphere” of the Pure Oil experimental research lab, where the college was first housed.

“Residents though the inside was as beautify as the outside,” she remembered, pointing out that the first referendum to build a new campus was defeated.

What she didn’t say was that it was defeated 80-20. I remember the fight well, having come up with the slogan for the opponents;

The Ladd Site Is a Bad Site!

Vote No December (whatever date the election was held)

Jim Davis, second president of MCC, told me of another site suggested at the southwest corner of Route 176. Now living in Minnesota, Davis told me that “peat bog” still was empty. Seen to Davis’ left is Bob Bartlett, the longest serving MCC president. Both gave short talks.

What I remember about the rejected McHenry site, was that it had Houghton muck along the creek. That type of soil is suitable for sod farms, but little else.

The next referendum was for the current site and it passed.

One regret that I have is that the college gave up the 459-6800 main number. The College started offering classes in 1968.

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McHenry County College President Walt Packard introduces categories of those attending kick-off luncheon for 40th year celebration. Suzanne Wallace, who began teaching speech when the college opened, poses with Iris Bryan, Publicity Chairman of the 1967 junior college referendum committee. Bryan took speech from Wallace. The two men are former McHenry County College Presidents Bob Bartlett and Jim Davis.

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