College History | MVCC | Mohawk Valley Community College
skip to main content
Adjust Font Size

College History

College History

Mohawk Valley Community College was the first community college established in New York State. Founded in 1946 as the New York State Institute of Applied Arts and Sciences at Utica, it was one of five post-secondary institutions established on an experimental basis after World War II. The two-year public college offered programs leading to technical and semi-professional employment in business and industry.

In 1948, the State University of New York was created and authorized to recommend the establishment of community colleges. The College became a constituent unit of the State University in 1950. The following year, the College was authorized to grant the Associate in Applied Science degree.

In 1953, the County of Oneida assumed the sponsorship of the College, then known as Mohawk Valley Technical Institute, under the Community College Law section of the 1948 Education Law. This section authorized the cost of operating a community college to be shared equally through student tuition, state aid and charges to the counties of New York State.

The following year, MVCC began offering classes in Rome, New York, to better serve the needs of northern and western Oneida County. Classes were offered at the former Griffiss Air Force Base from 1954 to 1958 and again from 1969 to 1974. In 1974, a branch campus was established in Rome at the current location on Floyd Avenue.

As a community college, MVCC saw its enrollment and facilities grow. From 1946 to 1960, the College occupied temporary quarters in New Hartford and downtown Utica. In 1960, the College moved to new buildings on an 80-acre site in southeast Utica.

The Utica Campus completed a Master Plan in 2002 that included renovating virtually every building on campus and adding an Information Technology/Performing Arts/Conference Center building. The College’s academic offerings have continued to expand in response to the community needs determined through community surveys. The College now offers an exceptionally wide variety of transfer, career and vocational programs.

The Region

The Mohawk Valley is composed of Fulton, Herkimer, Schenectady, Montgomery and Oneida Counties and boasts some of the best scenery in the nation, with near and distant mountains and hillsides and a stunning valley dissected by the Mohawk River.

The City of Utica has a population of about 60,000. Its cultural and recreational advantages are many. Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute maintains an excellent art gallery and museum, there are numerous public parks, 10 golf courses, one of which is municipally owned and operated, as well as city swimming pools, a zoo, public tennis courts, and picnic grounds.

Rome, a city of approximately 35,000, was the starting point for construction of the Erie Canal. A reconstructed Fort Stanwix, important in the American Revolution, is located in the heart of the city. Lake Delta State Park is nearby.

Utica and Rome are centrally located in New York State, and are served by the New York State Thruway, along with bus and train lines. Close to the Adirondacks, the area is rich in recreational activities including a variety of water sports, camping, hunting, skiing, and snowmobiling.

Utica Campus

The Utica Campus of Mohawk Valley Community College is located at 1101 Sherman Drive, in southeast Utica. The campus is on level ground and all buildings are accessible to persons with disabilities. Buildings include:

Information Technology/Performing Arts/Conference Center

This building includes a 500-seat theater. It is wheelchair accessible and offers headsets for the hearing impaired. The 58-foot high proscenium features a hydraulic orchestra lift and computer-operated lights and sound. The facility hosts College and community cultural events, presentations by the MVCC Drama Club and Readers Theater, by visiting groups, and is home to specialized instruction related to theater and the arts. The Utica Symphony also performs some of its concerts here. The building also houses a 120-seat lecture hall with Internet connections, a number of “smart” classrooms, computer laboratories, and the Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Conference and Training Center.

Academic Building

The Academic Building houses most classrooms on the MVCC Utica Campus, as well as computer laboratories, fine arts studios, and laboratories for nursing, respiratory care, biology, physics, and graphic arts. Offices for Public Safety, High School Services and the Learning Center are also located here.

Science and Technology Building

The Science and Technology Building features a variety of laboratories, including those for chemistry, welding, heating, refrigeration, air conditioning, metallurgy, electricity, and machine tools courses.

Payne Hall

Payne Hall, named for MVCC’s late President Emeritus Albert V. Payne, houses a comprehensive Student Service Center, including Admissions, Advisement, Business Office, Counseling, Financial Aid, and Registrar’s Office, as well as a special Help Desk. Many faculty members and administrators have their offices in Payne Hall. The main library is located on the second floor.

Alumni College Center

The Alumni College Center serves as the hub of the Student Activities Program. This facility contains recreation rooms, a snack bar (“MV Commons”), dining halls for resident and commuter students, conference facilities, the Bookstore, Student Congress Offices, Student Activities Office, and the Student Health Center.

Robert R. Jorgensen Athletic/Events Center

The Robert R. Jorgensen Athletic/Events Center houses a main gymnasium which accommodates more than 750 spectators for athletic events and the 27,000-square-foot field house featuring an indoor track, three athletic courts and fitness center catering to free weights, aerobic and Nautilus equipment. Both the gymnasium and field house serve as instructional facilities for physical education classes and team practices. Special activity areas include two handball-racquetball courts, swimming pool, multi-purpose rooms and classrooms. Adjoining athletic fields include an all-weather track, soccer, and softball fields, as well as six lighted tennis courts.

Residence Halls

The residence hall complexes on the Utica Campus provide housing for over 500 students. Modified rooms for students with disabilities are available. The Willis V. Daugherty Residence Hall is named for an MVCC Trustee Emeritus. Three others are named for New York State historical figures: Thomas D. Penfield; Edward Huntington; and John Butterfield. The newest residence hall is named for Francis E. Bellamy, author of the Pledge of Allegiance and former resident of Rome, New York.

Rome Campus

MVCC’s Rome campus is located at 1101 Floyd Avenue in Rome, NY, and consists of the John D. Plumley Science and Technology Complex which recently underwent a complete renovation.   MVCC also operates an Aviation Training Center at Griffiss Business and Technology Park and is a partner with SUNY Canton in the Dental Hygiene Training Clinic at the Griffiss Veterans Administration Facility. The Rome Campus offers all services available on the Utica Campus with the exception of student housing. The Rome Campus Student Services Center is a one-stop-shop for all services including admissions, advisement, financial aid, counseling, disability accommodations, payments, student activities, and more.

Plumley Science and Technology Complex

The Complex houses a full-service library, learning center, classrooms, laboratories, and administrative and student services offices. The building also features a 100-seat auditorium and community commons in the Atrium. There is a fitness center, café, faculty offices and much more.

Academic Building

The Rome Academic Building includes general purpose classrooms, specialized laboratories, faculty offices and the Bookstore. Hospitality and culinary students prepare for their futures in the building’s instructional kitchen, baking lab, and 100-seat restaurant-style dining room. The MVCC-Sage Tractor-Trailer driving program is also headquartered in the Rome Academic Building.

The Rome Campus offers a wide range of credit-bearing courses and non-credit workshops. Many of MVCC’s associate degree programs are available in Rome in their entirety. The MVCC Cultural Series brings films, lectures, and performances to Rome campus audiences.