60 Years On!

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by Rob O'Boyle

On May 1, 1961 the Board of Supervisors of Onondaga County unanimously approved the creation of a two-year technical college in Onondaga County. Democratic Supervisors called for an amendment to add a liberal arts and sciences program to the technical programs but the amendment was defeated. Republican sponsors John Mulroy, Marcellus and Ephraim Shapero, 17th Ward did not see the need for a liberal arts and sciences program at that time. In introducing the resolution Mulroy called the plan “a historic step into the field of educating by the county”. 1

Less than two weeks later the State approved of the Onondaga resolution. Nine trustees were appointed over the summer. Now began the hard part. The first meeting of the Board took place on September 28, 1961. Only twelve months remained before the College was slated to open. The trustees needed to hire a College President, staff, and faculty and find a suitable location for the College to operate. All of this without a budget as the College budget would not begin until January 1, 1962.

In the spring of 1962 the trustees submitted liberal arts and technical curricula to the State Education Department for approval. The College received official approval to offer programs in mechanical and electrical technology, dental hygiene and liberal arts and sciences. Amazingly sixteen months after the original resolution the College opened its doors to over 1200 full-time and part-time students on September 24, 1962.

1. “Supervisors approve community college.” The Post Standard, 2 May 1961, p.24.

Photo 1: Students in front of the main entrance to Midtown Plaza.

Photo 2: Biology Professor Robert Malek first day of classes September 24, 1962.