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1960: The Massachusetts Board of Regional Community Colleges (MBRCC) decided to establish a Community College in Haverhill, the name Northern Essex Community College was agreed upon and became the second of what would become fifteen community colleges in the state.

NECC sign at the Greenleaf School

Northern Essex’s first location was at the former Greenleaf Elementary School.

1961: NECC’s first semester began in September, with classes primarily at the Greenleaf School in Bradford, MA. The first class consisted of 181 students (142 men and 39 women), predominantly in the 18-20 year old range.  Classes were taught by the five full-time faculty members, along with the eight part-time faculty.  Programs for students include: Liberal Arts Transfer, General Liberal Arts, Business Administration, Accounting, Secretarial and Electronic Technology. 

1963: The first official class of 186 students graduates from NECC. Commencement ceremonies were held at Bradford Junior College.

NECC people walking in the hallway at the old Haverhill High School.

NECC people walking in the hallway at the old Haverhill High School.

1965: As enrollment grew, satellite classrooms were used wherever administration could find the space. Along with the Greenleaf School, classes were also held at the Grange, the People’s Methodist Church, The Hellenic Orthodox Church, and the former Haverhill High School at various times until 1971.

1967: The ground breaking on the new campus in Haverhill occurred on October 3. The site, formerly known as Hunkin’s Hill, had been selected in 1963 and was officially deeded to the college in 1965.

growd atcampus groundbreaking ceremony in1967

Several rows of attendees seated at the Haverhill Campus Groundbreaking ceremony, including President Harold A. Bentley holding a program for the event.










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