MUSKOGEE JUNIOR COLLEGE
Created by the Muskogee (Oklahoma) Board of Education and supported by progressive-minded citizens, Muskogee Junior College (MJC) opened in 1920 as the first municipal junior college in Oklahoma. MJC remained a one-year school until it was accredited as a two-year institution in 1928 by the State Board of Education. Bessie Marie Huff, a Muskogee Central High School teacher, joined the MJC staff in 1923 and served as the dean from 1928 until 1962.
As one of thirty-five municipal junior colleges opened in Oklahoma between 1920 and 1939, MJC provided postsecondary education to local students, who saved money by living at home while completing two years of course work. The facility opened in Central High School and later moved into two old houses. When those houses were condemned, the college moved to vacated hospital facilities in 1961. From nine students in 1920, enrollment rose to 292 in 1953. Until 1940 MJC offered only liberal arts and science courses. However, following a national trend among junior colleges at that time, MJC added commercial and industrial courses, and in 1952 it provided manual training such as carpentry, machine shop, and pattern making. When MJC closed in October 1962 due to financial problems, the already-established Bacone College met the community's needs. Prominent MJC alumni include U. S. Rep. Edmond Edmondson and Oklahoma district judge Andrew Wilcoxen.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Frank A. Balyeat, "Junior Colleges in Oklahoma," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 26 (Spring 1948). Maurice LaFayette Cotton, "The Local Public Junior Colleges in Oklahoma," (M.A. thesis, University of Oklahoma, 1929). "Education,Higher–Muskogee Junior College," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City. Dana Eversole, "'She Has Surely Done Her Share': Miss Bessie Huff and the Muskogee Junior College," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 79 (Winter 2001-02). Larry W. Nutter, "A History of Junior Colleges in Oklahoma" (Ph.D. diss., University of Oklahoma, 1974).
Linda D. Wilson
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