MCLA Narratives

Are you curious about the first African American to graduate from MCLA with a four-year degree? Did you ever wonder what the rules and regulations were for students in the 1950s? The MCLA Narratives tour investigates the history of MCLA’s people, programs, and buildings by examining a handful of individuals and events in the college’s past.

In spring 2018, students in Art & Collective Identity (ARTH 311), taught by Katherine Carroll, conducted research in the college archives and created this series of historical markers to display across campus from April 17 through April 26. Now available online, the project allows us to ask questions about the ways in which the interpretation of space and the contextualization of people and events shape our sense of shared identity.

The creators of this tour are: Breanna Castor, Chris Curtin, Mel Fortini, Melissa Gay, Allison Gregory, Kaliegh Hayes, Maddison Lamonda, Rachel Mancour, Kayla Narel, Barbara Reeves, John Ringer, Najah Sims, William Taylor, Macie Turrell, Cheyenne VanBramer

Margaret Hart

In 1935, the first student of color, Margaret Hart, graduated from the four-year program at the State Teachers College of North Adams (now MCLA). Hart was born in 1911 in Williamstown and was the oldest of her siblings. After entering the State…

Venable Hall

Venable Hall honors Wallace Venable, retired head of the science department and former member of the North Adams School Committee and planning board. Born in 1893, Mr. Venable became a key player in the fight against marriage bars in education…

Center for Resourceful Living

In July 1975, North Adams State College (NASC), now MCLA, approved a nearly $15,000 (equivalent to nearly $70,000 today) grant for the establishment of the Center for Resourceful Living (CRL), a program with a ‘back-to-the-land’ ideology and…

MCLA's Student Government Association (SGA)

MCLA's Student Government Association (SGA) started more than one hundred years ago. SGA controls the budgets of clubs and allows students to have a voice in decisions the school makes. The MCLA archives retain records of SGA budgets and…

MCLA Day of Conversations

In March of 1990, a group of MCLA professors concerned about the campus community’s behavior of prejudice and racism created the Day of Conversations, a series of workshops centered on the topics of diversity and inclusion. They designed the…

MCLA Student Protests

Throughout the ’60s and ’70s at MCLA, fewer protests took place than one might expect from a liberal arts school. For those that did occur, the academic quad served as the hot spot for all of them. Between 1965 and 1975, students mobilized only three…