An enduring legacy for Flint, Genesee County, the mid-Michigan region and beyond

The history of Mott Community College spans more than 100 years of success and service. In 1923, the Flint Board of Education established Flint Junior College to make a college education available to Genesee County students at a minimal cost without forcing them to leave home.

On September 23, 1923, the first class of what would become Mott Community College was held.
Charles Stewart Mott

Charles Stewart Mott

Businessman, philanthropist and the 50th and 55th Mayor of Flint, Michigan.

In 1950 Charles Stewart Mott gave $1 million to develop Flint Junior College into a four-year institution in collaboration with the University of Michigan, a move that created the College and Cultural Center (including the DeWaters Art Center, the Flint Institute of Arts, Longway Planetarium, Bower Theater, Sloan Museum, Whiting Auditorium, Flint Institute of Music and the Flint Public Library main branch). In 1951, William Ballenger, Sr. set aside $200,000 for the construction of an athletic field house and left a trust of several million dollars that allowed the college to hire top quality instructors to elevate Flint Junior College to a true community college. C. S. Mott then donated 32 acres of farmland and additional money for an entire new campus.

In 1957, University of Michigan-Flint was established on the MCC campus and remained here until the mid-1970s when its new downtown campus was established (although UM-Flint science classes remained at MCC for another decade and UM-F's public TV station remained on the MCC campus until 2002).

In 1969, Genesee County voters converted Flint Junior College into a countywide college, Genesee Community College. When C.S. Mott died in 1973 (at age 97) Genesee Community College was renamed Charles Stewart Mott Community College.

The 1980s saw the MCC enter the computer age. Student registration was fully computerized and classes were offered by television. By the mid-1990s classes were offered via videotape, television and the internet, and satellite locations opened in Lapeer and Fenton. In 1991, MCC helped establish the Mott Middle College, a nationally recognized program for troubled but talented high school students in the Genesee County area.

In 1996 MCC began development of the Regional Technology Center (RTC), a center for high-technology education built on the site of the old St. Joseph Hospital, adjacent to the main campus. The $40-million facility opened in September 2002 and drew more than 1,300 students its first semester. In addition, thousands of area residents have attended community events at the new RTC. At the same time, MCC opened its Visual Arts & Design Center, offering a first quality facility for the fine arts and graphic design. Three community technology centers were also established in Flint to help bridge the digital divide and provide access to new technology to the larger community. In 2001, MCC expanded to Livingston County, opening a Michigan Technical Education Center in Howell. In 2002, MCC also opened the Northern Tier Center in Clio to serve students in the northern part of Genesee County. This center was so successful (enrollment rose rapidly from 400 to 1,100 students) that a new larger facility was opened in January 2007.

On the main campus, the MCC Library underwent expansion and renovations in 2008-2009, adding study rooms for students, multi-purpose teaching and learning and meeting spaces.

The year 2010 saw the opening of a Media Arts & Entertainment Technology Center, providing professional-quality technical training for a wide variety of media-related careers.

Just a year later, MCC opened its FabLab in the RTC as part of a mid-Michigan initiative to promote innovation and entrepreneurship. The FabLab provides entrepreneurs a place to use digital technologies to move ideas through product development and into the market.

Also new to the RTC is the Innovation Center, a collaborative space between the Information Technology and Electronics and Electrical Technology programs. The environment is designed as an extension of the classroom to support multi-disciplinary projects and provide supervised student access to state-of-the-art equipment outside of class times.

In 2015 MCC launched its International Institute as a way to initiate, coordinate, promote and support campus and community-wide efforts for international and intercultural programming. The institute was designed to increase global awareness and understanding for supporting diversity, equity and inclusion and equipping students with intercultural competence in a global society. Today, it includes international students, study abroad opportunities and will offer virtual foreign exchange opportunities starting in 2022.

In 2019 MCC expanded its campus to downtown Flint with the opening of a state-of-the-art Culinary Arts Institute at the corner of Second and Saginaw streets in the heart of the entertainment district. The fully-renovated, 36,000 square-foot Institute features multiple culinary and baking laboratories, a garde manger classroom, a chocolates and confections laboratory, an upscale casual restaurant and a Coffee Beanery franchise to teach all aspects of the food service industry.

The main campus expanded once again in 2021 with the grand opening of the Lenore Croudy Family Life Center, located in the renovated former Woodside Church, adjacent to the main campus on Court Street. The Center, named for long-time Board of Trustees chair Lenore Croudy, provides wrap-around services for students experiencing challenges related to food, housing, childcare, transportation, healthcare and other personal barriers to academic success.

In times of crisis, MCC has proven itself an anchor institution for Flint and Genesee County. During the Flint Water Crisis in 2014, the College served as a water distribution center and made a long-term commitment to providing safe drinking water at all campus facilities. During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020-2022, the College continued to serve the community as a vaccination station.

As the 2020s have brought new challenges and opportunities, MCC has risen to meet the needs of students and the community.

In 2022, following a generous donation of $12.5 million from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Prahl College Center will be renovated and redesigned to offer new technologies for the students of tomorrow. The project has been aided by a further $12.5 million grant from the state of Michigan and a $650,000 Federal appropriation spearheaded by U.S. Senator Gary Peters. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2024.

Meanwhile, in 2023, President Walker-Griffea was honored as the 2023 CEO of the Year by the American Association of Community Colleges for demonstrating excellence in leadership, service and advocacy.

On September 23, 2023, a sparkling, sunny autumn day, students, staff, faculty and community members gathered to celebrate the centennial birthday of Mott Community College. The College has come a long way since Flint Junior College greeted its first students in the classrooms of Flint Central High School. As celebratory fireworks burst over Flint, visible from MCC’s main campus, we look forward to the promise of the next hundred years.