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More than a Tradition: The history of Metropolitan Community College

In 1915, the Kansas City community was asking for local higher education opportunities. In response to the growing need, the Kansas City school board approved the post-secondary education experiment called, the Kansas City Polytechnic Institute. The Kansas City Polytechnic Institute was officially established by the Board of Education on May 29, 1915, as the first public institution of higher education in Kansas City. 

In a building located in downtown Kansas City at 11th and Locust, we began offering classes on September 7, 1915, with an estimated 200 students.  In the beginning, the school included a junior college, a teacher training school, a high school, a mechanic arts school, a trade school, and a business training school. A nurse training school was quickly added. We offered classes that prepared students for additional college work and courses that could lead to profitable employment.

We were one of the first two-year colleges in the United States to award the associate degree and became a national model for two-year post-secondary education. We received official accreditation in 1918by the North Central Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges and  was only the third two-year institution in the country to be accredited by the NCA.  The academic standards were considered highly rigorous.

With the junior college division attracting so many students, we officially changed our name to the Junior College of Kansas City in 1919.

In 1964 seven suburban school districts - Belton, Center, Grandview, Hickman Mills, Lee’s Summit, North Kansas City and Raytown -joined forces with the Kansas City School District to create the Metropolitan Community College District. That year, the College Board of Trustees was also elected to govern the district and relinquish governing authority from the Kansas City Board of Education.

As Kansas City expanded into the suburbs in the 1960s, so did MCC, opening the Longview, Maple Woods, and Penn Valley campuses in 1969. In the 1980’s and 1990’s, the Blue Springs, Park Hill, Independence and Fort Osage school districts joined the MCC district. Blue River Community College was named the fourth campus in 1997 and the Business & Technology campus was added in 2002.

In December of 2005, all five campuses joined together to become one Metropolitan Community College. The goal was to create a more unified district to serve the needs of students all over the Greater Kansas City region.

Today, we are the largest public education provider in the area and one of the premier community colleges in the nation.  With five campuses located across the metropolitan community, we serve more than 37,000 students every year.  We work to prepare students, serve communities and create opportunities.  From the beginning, we have aimed to create a better community through education.

Last Modified: 7/1/16