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Thu, 07.30.1970

Medgar Edgar College Opens

*On this date in 1970, Medgar Evers College (MEC) was established.  MEC is the youngest of the four-year senior colleges in The City University of New York system.

In the early 1960s, the Central Brooklyn community recognized the need for a local public college. Through various community organizations including, but not limited to, the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, the Central Brooklyn Coordinating Council, and the NAACP, and through their local elected officials, the residents of Central Brooklyn approached the Board of Higher Education of the City of New York with this request. Members of the various community-based organizations constituted the Bedford-Stuyvesant Coalition on Educational Needs and Services, which served as the primary vehicle for interfacing with the Board of Higher Education.

After many discussions and involvement by community residents and the Coalition, the Board of Higher Education, on November 17, 1967, "approved the sponsorship of Community College Number VII, with the indication of an intention to admit students in the Fall of l969."  The College was officially established when (then) Governor Nelson Rockefeller signed the legislation approving the "establishment of an experimental four-year college of professional studies offering both career and transfer associate degrees and the baccalaureate degree..."

On September 28, 1970, the Board of Higher Education approved the recommendation from the College’s Community Council that the name of the college is Medgar Evers College, in honor of the martyred civil rights leader Medgar Wiley Evers. In recognition of this, September 28th is observed as "Founders’ Day" at Medgar Evers College.  On December 2, 1970, the Medgar Evers College Community Council, chaired by John Enoch, and the Board of Higher Education co-hosted an announcement ceremony at the Y.M.C.A. on 139 Monroe Street in Brooklyn. Chairman Enoch stated, "The Medgar Evers College, reflecting the image of the martyred leader who dedicated his life to the cause of individual freedom, dignity, and personal fulfillment, will add another pillar of strength to the growing educational, economic, cultural, and social foundations of the central Brooklyn community and New York City."

Mr. Evers’ widow, Mrs. Myrlie Evers, and two of the couple’s three children flew in from Claremont, California, for the ceremony. She presented a scroll citing Mr. Evers’s "...effective contribution to the cause of human freedom and dignity...In choosing the name of Medgar Evers, it is our hope that his ideals will inspire students and faculty of the college in their pursuit of truth as the surest path to human freedom and social justice." 

The community continues to be an important force in the life of the College. The method of planning for the college and selection of its first president was unprecedented in the history of the Board of Higher Education. The commitment and service to the community, which pervades throughout the College, may be attributed directly to the multi-faceted roles that the Community Council and the community have played in the establishment, growth, and development of this institution.  

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