MCTC: A look back
This is the first part of a series of articles detailing major landmarks, decade by decade, in the
history of the college.
The groundwork for the creation of Maysville Community and Technical College was laid on
February 26, 1966, with the passage of House Bill 238 which allowed Maysville to become part of a
group of state community colleges to be constructed across the state. Since that day, MCTC has been
transformed physically with the addition of several buildings and campus branches and extensions. But
even from the start, Maysville Community College, as it was named until 2004, has become a vital
institution to the communities it serves.
Following the passage of HB 238, the Licking Valley College Development Corporation was
chartered in March 1966 to acquire land for the college and to facilitate fund-raising efforts within the
service communities. During the early phase of the college’s creation, Dr. Mitch Denham served as a
legislator in the Kentucky House of Representatives and Dr. Harry Denham served on the University of
Kentucky Board of Trustees. According to MCTC Professor of History and local historian John Klee, Drs.
Mitch Denham and Harry Denham worked through their positions to detrimentally influence the
creation of a community college in Maysville. By early May 1966, UK trustees for the college chose the
“Wood Farm” over 13 other sites as the future campus. The purchase of 120 acres from the heirs of the
late Clarence L. Wood amounted to $120,000. Many community organizations and individuals soon
began an enthusiastic fund-raising campaign which raised a total of $220,449, exceeding the goal by
$50,000 within a matter of a few months. T. Frank Jones spearheaded the fund-raising efforts, which
ultimately allowed the purchase of the Wood property and the start of scholarship funds with the
remaining money. A local newspaper headline read “Community College Fever is Getting ‘Contagious,’”
according to a college scrapbook clipping from May 1966.
On January 3, 1967, Gov. Edward T. Breathitt announced Maysville would receive $1.4 million
for the construction of the college as part of a $18.5 million building program. Dr. Charles T.
Wethington, Jr. was named director of the college in May 1967 and college construction began with a
groundbreaking on November 15, 1967, that featured a celebration of music and song, speeches and a
gala dinner. During the ceremony, University of Kentucky President John W. Oswald stated “nothing so
important could happen to a community” than to get a community college. “The important thing is that
there will be a college here for centuries to come, to serve future generations yet unborn,” he said.
As the college building was being constructed, classes began in August within temporary
locations at the downtown Maysville Methodist and Presbyterian Churches. Each of the 56 students
who applied for scholarships were awarded, due to the generosity of the community. Dr. Robert K.
Berry was the first MCC faculty member named. An Open House was held on the new campus June 7-8,
1969, as 2,500 people beheld the new, 53,000-square-foot Administrative Building. Formal dedication
ceremonies were held the following September with Gov. Louis Nunn and Dr. Otis Singetary speaking.
When the college opened Aug. 27, 1968, 53 classes were offered and a total of 226 students registered
for the first semester. Another individual of note was Jean Calvert, who was named Advisory Board Chair
for the college. Calvert continued to hold this position for more than 20 years.
Soon after the college opened, student had opportunities to participate in activities such as
dances, plays, choir, intramural basketball and Student Council. The first graduation in May 1970 was
witnessed by more than 500 people as 58 students were candidates for degrees. Carol Barbour was the
first graduate. The local papers diligently published numerous articles about college instructors and their
families, college courses, activities, registration, enrollment, scholarships and other campus-related
news. On July 1, 1971, Dr. Wethington was appointed Assistant to Dr. Stanley Wall, UK Vice President for
Community College and one month later, Dr. James C. Shires assumed the position as the college’s
Other milestones in the college’s early history include:
1970 – The pond near the college was unofficially named Lake Charles after Dr. Wethington.
Jan. 1972 – The college received full accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and
Aug. 1972 – The MCC Associate Degree Nursing Program accepts the first students. Vocational
Education Region Nine in Morehead becomes a separate institution.
Jan. 1973 – MCC receives a $500 Real Estate grant to implement a Real Estate Training Program.
Aug. 1973 – Retail Mid-Management and Electronic Engineering Technology programs were added to
the curriculum. The college also converted to a computerized system for registration and a total of 364
students registered for the fall semester.
Sept. 1973 – The college’s first yearbook was published commemorating the institution’s five-year
anniversary. The college’s cable television programming “Inside Look” began airing on a regular basis.
May 1974 – The first graduating class of 23 students in the Associate Degree Nursing Program received
July 1974 – Consumer and Family Life Skills Training began in cooperation with Vocation Education.
Aug. 1975 – The college adds an Electro Mechanical Technology Program to the curriculum.
April 1976 – Tennis courts on campus were opened for use by the college and community for lessons.
July 1976 – First Continuing Education Coordinator added to the staff.
Aug. 1976 – The Industrial Technology Program was added.
Aug. 1977 – The college adds a Cooperative Education Coordinator position to the staff through a
federal Cooperative Education Grant.
Sept. 1977 – The college enrolls 387 students for the fall semester.
Aug. 1978 – The college celebrates its 10-year anniversary with a barbeque supper and dance for MCC
alumni, faculty, staff and other community friends.