It was about 1967 or 1968 when the Massachusetts Community College system had grown from one, Berkshire, to six or seven when some one at the state level thought it would be a red hot idea if every one in the system met for a day to share. So our whole faculty boarded a bus and drove to Quinsigamond C.C. in Worcester where they put the English, Math, History etc. people in individual rooms and said talk. Actually one of the better things to ever come from above.
It turned into a commiseration, a lot of good people floundering to do the right thing. On the way home to Pittsfield I reflected on the New York State organization of two year colleges, for I had taught at Monroe High School in Rochester N.Y. before returning to Massachusetts to teach at BCC in 1965. "We needed something like that here", I mused and decided to do something.
My colleague Amy West and I wrote a letter to every one teaching mathematics in the community college system at the time and announced that there would be an organizational meeting to be held and that all interested parties should attend. For the life of me I can not remember where that meeting was held but if I was to guess it was at Bristol CC, for I might have made a few phone calls and Joan McGowen was at Bristol*. She was a driving force from the get go.
Because I had convened the meeting I was chosen President pro tem of MATYC, an organization that was in the delivery room. MMATYC was born at the first annual meeting which I believe was held in the Red Lobster Motel that spans the Mass Pike near Newton MA. At that point I went from pro tem to president and we were off and running—MMATYC was launched.
Herb Gross moved back to Massachusetts, to Bunker HIll CC, from Binghamton State College in New York state where he was a live wire and also an organizing inspiration to us neophytes. He used to say that "An expert was anyone who crossed a state line to get here". He was very visible at annual gatherings.
After a few years one male whose name escapes me started showing up from Rhode Island Community College and I personally felt that we ought to include him by changing the name to NEMATYC. Also, the name sounded like the drill and had a nice ring to it. We made attempts to draw in Vermont and New Hampshire, to little avail, and we drove to Connecticut to talk to people there about merging with us, but they had a viable organization and did not want to be absorbed in to a fledgling group.
And we had a lot of fun for several years .... We continued for a few years but the zing was gone and after attending the organizational meeting in New York City for the formation of the national organization of two year colleges, it became what the Massachusetts Community College System has become, a good idea...
Berkshire Community College
Professor of Mathematics Emeritus
*Actually, Middlesex CC (editor)