McHenry County College celebrates 50 years with Scots Fest

CRYSTAL LAKE – Hundreds gathered at McHenry County College on Saturday to celebrate the school’s 50th anniversary with live music, storytelling, local food and student showcases.

The college held MCC Scots Fest, which featured local food trucks, art demonstrations, a car show and live music from Potts & Pans Steelband, Charlie Three Valves and the Weird Seven and the Crystal Lake Strivers Drum Corps. Jim May, a local author and storyteller, also performed.

The event is one of several the college has planned throughout 2017 to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

“This one is kind of a ‘thank you’ to the community for having us in the community,” MCC spokeswoman Christina Haggerty said. “This is an accumulation of 50 years of education and celebrating with the community. We love when people can come here to the campus and see how the college has evolved. That has been our goal.”

Print-making, painting, ceramics, culinary and other students were out Saturday demonstrating skills they learned in the classroom. The college’s “kids on campus,” automotive and early childhood education programs also were featured.

“The purpose of today is really about awareness of what we are doing and keeping the community excited about what we are doing,” Haggerty said. “Even though I see it on a daily basis, I still get excited about our programs.”

McHenry County College was established in April 1967, and its first semester kicked off in September 1968. Tuition then cost $5.60 a credit hour, compared with 2016’s $104 a credit hour, according to documents from the college.

The college’s first semester was held in the Pure Oil building in Crystal Lake, where the Jewel-Osco shopping complex now stands. In 1972, the college bought land to build its permanent campus. Over the years, the college has added to its campus, according to documents from the college.

This year, MCC officials are planning to construct a 31,670-square-foot, two-story science center adjacent to Building E on the Crystal Lake campus. It will contain a cadaver lab, various science labs, a lecture hall, a resource lab, prep rooms and a 720-square-foot planetarium. Construction is expected to end in 2018, college officials have said.