100 Years, 100 Stories
Video: Metropolitan Community College began as the Kansas City Polytechnic Institute and was established by the Kansas City Board of Education on May 29th, 1915 as the first public institution of higher education in Kansas City. Classes began on September 7, 1915 with 200 students. The Institute used a downtown Kansas City building, which had previously been the old Central High School and operated by Kansas City Public Schools. The president of the University of Missouri and the chancellor of the University of Kansas were both present at the opening convocation of the Polytechnic Institute. The college was one of the first two-year colleges in the United States to award the associate degree and became a national model for two-year post-secondary education.
After only three years, the new college was accredited by North Central Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges. The school was only the third two-year institution in the country to be accredited by the NCA. The academic standards were considered highly rigorous. With the Junior College division attracting so many students, the Institute officially changed its name to the Junior College of Kansas City in 1919. The community was excited. Parents viewed the Junior College as an answer to further education locally, and the Kansas City Board of Education saw it as an answer to prepare professionals to serve businesses and the community.
From 1915 until 1964, the Kansas City Board of Education was the governing body of the college. In 1964 seven suburban school districts: Belton, Center, Grandview, Hickman Mills, Lee’s Summit, North Kansas City and Raytown joined forces with the Kansas City School District to create the Metropolitan Community College District. That year the college board of trustees was elected and began governing the district. As Kansas City expanded into the suburbs during the 1960s, so did MCC opening the Longview, Maple Woods, and Penn Valley campuses in 1969. In the 80’s and 90’s, Blue Springs, Park Hill, Independence and Fort Osage joined the MCC district. Blue River Community College was named the fourth campus is 1997 and the Business and Technology campus was added in 2002.
In December of 2005, all five campuses joined together to become one Metropolitan Community College. The goal was to create a more unified district to serve the needs of students all over the greater Kansas City region.
One hundred years later, MCC has transformed into the largest public education provider in Kansas City, the third largest in the Missouri and is one of the premier community college districts in the nation. With five campuses located across the metropolitan community, MCC serves more than 37,000 students every year. MCC Works to prepare students, serve communities and create opportunities.
Chancellor Mark James said, “MCC works because it is a vibrant and ever-changing system that pushes to create a better
community through post-secondary education. MCC will continue to lead the charge on educational innovation and look for opportunities to connect our students with area businesses and universities. Our goal for the next 100 years is to remain a leader in preparing highly-skilled students ready to enter the workforce or pursue baccalaureate degrees.”