BY KELLY BROWN
In 1963, James Henderson led an eight-member committee appointed by the Morris County Freeholders to establish a college for the community. By 1967, the 218 acre site south of Route 10 was chosen and construction began for what we now call Henderson Hall. The following September, nearly 1,300 students were enrolled at the County College of Morris with 221 receiving degrees two years later.
In the fall of 1968, the college offered 13 majors, with 40 different courses and 20 different sections. Today, CCM offers 77 majors, with 942 different courses and 1,344 sections. With that being said, since its establishment nearly 50 years ago, growth of the once small-scale community college has been exponential.
“The number of programs we offer now is really very comprehensive,” said professor of English and Chairperson of the English and philosophy department, Dr. Janet Eber.
“We respond to student’s interests and make those interests academically sound,” Eber said. “Every time this college does something it tries to move forward.”
Fresh out of graduate school, Dr. Eber began her teaching career at CCM as a second year faculty member in the fall of 1969.
“It was so exciting a time because so many of us were brand new,” Dr. Eber said. “I didn’t care what they paid me because it gave me a chance to teach. That’s what this place did in the early years, it took a bunch of young people and gave us a chance to grow.”
In the beginning, growth was rapid for both CCM faculty and the campus itself. By the fall semester of 1970, five more buildings were added to the school including a service building, Sheffield Hall, the Health & Physical Education Building, the Student Community Center, and the Masten Library.
“I remember when there was no library,” Dr. Eber said. “We would go and sit in our cars in between classes to grade papers because there was nowhere else to go.”
In 1973, both Cohen and DeMare Hall were added to campus, to accommodate the rapidly growing enrollment rate. Eber remembers one year in particular where campus population grew immensely due to the influx of Vietnam veterans returning home from combat.
“I wanted to further my education,” said George Johnson, who attended CCM following his time in the Air Force during the Vietnam war.
After returning home from his service, Johnson was interested in a job that required him to take a couple of business courses in order to secure the position. CCM’s $13 per credit hour tuition rate and flexible scheduling attracted veterans, like Johnson, who were slightly older than the college’s traditional 18-20 year old demographic.
“I liked everything about CCM,” Johnson said. “If you had any problems at any time you could always call your instructor. They were all very good and dedicated to helping students.”
As a part-time student, Johnson found that the courses he took at CCM allowed for him to expand his knowledge while assimilating back into civilian life. The night courses and close proximity to his home allowed him to maintain a full time job, take care of his family and still be able to earn a degree.
“It was a nice small campus and everybody was very friendly and helpful,” Johnson said. “Now it’s about three times the size.”
In the Fall 1982, 12,012 students were enrolled for courses at CCM, the highest amount of students to date. By 1989, Emeriti Hall was completed, meeting the demand for more room for students.
“There were so many students and so many different classes and so many majors,” said Kristi Malone, one of the students who enrolled in Fall of 1982. “When you look at the yearbook you don’t know anybody in your graduating class.”
Malone remembers never being able to find parking during the day, with there seemingly being more students than available spaces.
“It was always busy during the day,” Malone said. “But it was still a very small campus.”
As CCM has grown in both size and population, its core principles as a credible learning institution has not changed.
“I’m very encouraged by the students that I see,” Dr. Eber said. “I’ve never regretted not being at a four-year college. On its worst day this is the best place to be. I’ve felt that way for 47 years.”