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Community colleges celebrate 100 years

By Staff
Special to The Star
Dec. 4, 2001
Meridian Community College President Scott Elliott commemorated the centennial of the community college system Monday, saying it is "the only educational delivery system that is truly American."
And in celebrating those 100 years, MCC's Phi Theta Kappa chapter hosted a birthday party at the college complete with cake, balloons and memories of PTK's service to the community and the college.
The community college system got its start in Joliet, Ill., when the first class began in 1901. Nationwide, community colleges offer open access to more than 10 million students, said Alison Davis, president of MCC's PTK chapter, Nu Upsilon.
Elliott said that "some years ago educational leaders in Mississippi had a great vision of the needs for the populous."
Mississippi was among the first in the nation to establish public junior colleges and was the first state to organize a statewide system of junior colleges a forerunner to today's community college.
In 1922, junior colleges in the state began teaching students. Today, community colleges in Mississippi serve almost 124,000 students. In fact, 66 percent of all freshmen college students go to a community college.
Also during the birthday celebration, Billy Wilson, director of the Honors Institute at Phi Theta Kappa International, complimented MCC and its PTK chapter. "This is a terrific place to be and to be from," he said. "Anything that has to do with honors education, we know MCC will have a part of it."