From the perspective of a historian, 1968 is most often remembered as a year of tremendous turmoil and unrest, both in the United States and around the world. From the Tet Offensive and Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia to the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King and Senator Robert Kennedy, it is easy to see why some have dubbed it the year America “shattered.” Studies have shown that individuals tend to put more emphasis on the negative and less on the positive events, possibly because of the perceived impact the former have on our lives. So shattered probably is not an exaggeration.
Yet the dark events of 1968 should not be allowed to undermine the profoundly positive impact of that year. Apollo 8 made its historic manned-flight to orbit the moon and return. The first Special Olympics were held in Chicago, Illinois. Shirley Chisholm of New York was the first African-American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. And in August, the first students were admitted to Mayville Community (now, and Technical) College. Apollo 8 shattered the bounds of gravity; The Special Olympics shattered common misperceptions of the mentally and physically challenged; Rep. Chisholm’s election shattered artificial political barriers for women of color; and the college shattered the geographical boundary which denied access for all to higher education and a better life. No, shattered is not an exaggeration. Neither is impact, particularly of MCTC to our region.
Hyperbole aside, the facts speak for themselves with regard to college impact on the community. From an initial graduating class of 56 in 1970, MCTC’s number of graduates swelled to 755, earning 1,796 separate credentials, in academic year 2017-18 alone. Over the years, our students have excelled across the vocational spectrum, as physicians, welders, attorneys, machinists, teachers and so much more. All essential and all impactful. If you doubt the voracity of this claim, I challenge you to go to any medical facility in our region and avoid running into graduates from our allied health programs. It simply cannot be done.
The economic impact of MCTC to the region is as remarkable. In FY2016, the college employed 338 full and part-time faculty and staff, with a total payroll of over $15 million. Without even considering the implications on local payroll and property taxes, which is significant, just think about all of monies spent locally on groceries, gasoline, clothing and other retail services. MCTC itself spent almost $9 million in goods and services during that same time to maintain facilities and supplies as well as contracting for required specialized professional services. In total, after factoring alumni, current students and operations, the total economic impact for FY2016 was $71.4 million. (In estimated jobs, that amount is 1,342.) No small investment in our communities.
In 50 years, that impact has also expanded beyond the wildest expectations of the educational pioneers who laid the foundation for today’s institution. From Maysville Community College and the Rowan County Area Vocational Education Center (the other principle entity in our college mosaic), MCTC has morphed to include campuses in Cynthiana and Mt. Sterling, and serves counties throughout the entire commonwealth as well as Ohio. And beginning as limited classes and programs, today the college offers programs from Kid’s College to the most advanced instruction in robotics and drone flight management – and so much more. We have become whatever has been demanded to ensure that MCTC is helping create better lives for a better Kentucky.
As we celebrate our golden anniversary this year, despite the accomplishments and past impact, the college still has its best days ahead. On Sunday, August 26, MCTC will host a celebration on the Maysville Campus to mark the milestone. I encourage you to come out and take part in the festivities. There will be reminiscing with friends and alumni, campus tours and music on the front lawn. Those of you who have not been to campus in a long time – or maybe never – I especially invite you to come and spend this historic moment with us. If 1968 was a year of “shatters,” your presence at this celebration in 2018 will demonstrate that in this year, the college still very much “matters.” I’ll save you a cupcake!
Dr. Stephen Vacik is the President and CEO of Maysville Community & Technical College