Berkshire Community College timeline

Thursday, Oct. 29
Oct. 3, 1958: Gov. Foster Furcolo signs legislation creating the Massachusetts Community College System.

Sept. 15, 1960: BCC holds its formal opening ceremony, becoming the first community college in the state.

Thomas O'Connell is installed as director (president). The campus is located at the former Central Annex building on Second Street in Pittsfield.

June 11, 1961: First graduation is held when two transfer students finish one full year at BCC.

June 1962: First full graduation is held when 32 students complete two years at the college.

Dec. 5, 1964: BCC is accredited by the New England Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.

June 1969: Groundbreaking occurs for the new campus on West Street in Pittsfield. An Eagle photo shows Richard Kennedy, president of the Student Government Association, holding a shovel.

Dec. 24, 1971: Final classes are held at the Central Annex building.

Jan. 21, 1972: BCC's new campus opens on 180 acres on West Street.

1973: The BCC men's soccer team becomes the first Massachusetts junior college to win a New England title in any sport.

Spring 1973: The BCC Players hold their first production ("1776") in the new theater: 1974: BCC graduates its largest class to date: 356 students.

1978: Jonathan Daube is named the school's president, succeeding Thomas O'Connell.

Sept. 3, 1980: The Berkshire Community College Foundation holds its first meeting. The non-profit group is fiscally and legally separate from the school and was established to promote growth at BCC through fundraising.

Fall 1984: Classes are first offered in South County in rented space in the former Condor Chevrolet complex, across from the Kmart Plaza. Two years later, the classes were moved to their current location, the South County Center on Main Street.

August 1986: Eighteen non-Englishspeaking students arrive at BCC from the Central American Scholarship Program funded by a grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development. In 1988, 14 graduate (four had gone home early). More than half of the students achieved honors, and several achieved high honors.

1987: Cathryn Addy takes over as school president, succeeding Jonathan Daube.

July 1987: BCC Foundation purchases and renovates the former Whittaker's Garage building at 343 S. Main St. in Great Barrington, then opens the building as BCC's South County Center.

September 1993: BCC and Clarkson University launch the MBA Bridge program for students who use English as a second language and want to earn a Master of Business Administration or Master of Science in management. Students take the necessary English and business prerequisites at BCC, and earn acceptance into Clarkson's graduate program, conditional on test scores and grade average.

1994: Barbara Viniar is named school president, succeeding Cathryn Addy.

... The Berkshire Institute of Lifelong Learning is founded. The classes - for senior citizens - are held at BCC.

December 1994: The first BCC " teleclassroom" class is delivered through Public Access TV. The class was macroeconomics, taught by Armand Zanecchia.

Fall 1996: Two classes - business and history - are taught in downtown Pittsfield at the Fleet Bank building on North Street.

2000: BCC's Project Link is founded.

It's a 15- week program tailored to the individual needs of non- traditional students to prepare them for college.

September 1998: BCC Foundation celebrates a capital campaign that raises $1.75 million for scholarships and technology. The campaign kicked off in 1996 with a goal of $1.6 million.

June 2000: BCC breaks ground on a new soccer facility on the grounds of Peterson Field House.

2001: BCC collaborates with Berkshire Enterprises to run a business incubator space and offer classroom space in downtown Pittsfield in the former City Savings Bank building at 116 North St.

Fall 2001: Online credit courses are offered for the first time at BCC.

Non-credit courses had been taught online for the previous five years.

2002: Intercollegiate sports end at BCC when the men's basketball and crosscountry teams cease operations.

2003: Bryan Blanchard is selected as school president, succeeding Barbara Viniar.

December 2004: The BCC Foundation receives its largest single gift to date: $100,000 from an anonymous donor in honor of professor Donald Lathrop to endow a scholarship to provide full tuition, fees, books and other expenses for students.

2005: Paul Raverta is named the school's interim president, succeeding Bryan Blanchard. The interim title is dropped in 2008.

Dec. 6, 2005: Comedian Bill Cosby comes to BCC to promote community colleges.

Feb. 1, 2006: BCC becomes the only community college in the state to exceed the national average in graduation rates for 2002-04.

2006: BCC and the Pittsfield Family YMCA enter a partnership whereby the YMCA summer camp and other youth recreation leagues will be held on the BCC campus.

2007: The Berkshire Institute of Lifelong Learning becomes the BCC chapter of the nationwide Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. OLLI allows senior citizens to participate in social and intellectual opportunities provided through classes, lectures and trips. The BCC program is one of only four in the nation to be affiliated with a two-year college.

December 2007: BCC Foundation receives its largest individual gift to date: more than $650,000 from the estate of Barbara Nichols to create the Barbara A. Nichols Nursing Arts Center and the endowed Barbara A.

Nichols scholarship.

Spring 2008: BCC and the four-year Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams collaborate to open the Intermodal Education Center in the BRTA Building on Columbus Avenue in Pittsfield.

July 2009: OLLI at BCC receives a $1 million endowment gift to administer the program in perpetuity.

September 2009: Fall classes begin; BCC begins marking its 50th year as a community college.

Sept. 21, 2009: BCC holds its 50th anniversary ceremony on campus; nearly 200 local and state dignitaries attend.

Sources: BCC, Berkshire Eagle


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