Montgomery College
Montgomery College Insignia
Former names
Montgomery Junior College
MottoMake Your Move
TypePublic community college
EstablishedAugust 20, 1946; 77 years ago (1946-08-20)
Academic affiliation
PresidentJermaine F. Williams
Studentsc. 55,000 credit and noncredit students

39°05′54″N 77°09′33″W / 39.0982°N 77.1591°W / 39.0982; -77.1591
CampusCampuses in
NewspaperThe MC Advocate
The MC Globe
The MC Excalibur
Colors   Purple & silver
Sporting affiliations
NJCAA Division I
MascotRaptors (since 2012)

Montgomery College (MC) is a public community college in Montgomery County, Maryland.

The school was founded in 1946 as Montgomery Junior College. Four years later, it absorbed the 57-year-old Bliss Electrical School, which became the junior college's electrical program.

The college has three campuses, the largest of which is in Rockville. Its other campuses are in Takoma Park/Silver Spring and Germantown. Its off-campus sites include the Business Training Center in Gaithersburg and Westfield South in Wheaton, which are operated by the college's Workforce Development and Continuing Education Division.


Bliss School of Electricity

The Bliss School of Electricity was a private, for-profit institution which claimed to be the oldest school teaching electricity in the world.[1] Established in 1893 and named after its founder Louis D. Bliss, its first class was held on October 15, 1893, in a single room on the third floor of the Warder Building at Ninth and F streets NW in Washington, D.C.[2][3] It started as a night class with 26 students, including Thomas E. Robertson, who would later go on to be the United States Commissioner of Patents. The capital investment in the school was $400, representing an advance payment of $20 each from 20 men. During the eight-month session of 1894–1895, about 75 men enrolled and paid $50 of tuition each.[4][5] In 1895, Charles Francis Jenkins, of motion picture and television fame, enrolled as a student.[6] The school later moved to 219 G Street NW in Washington, D.C.[7]

W. B. Connelly, a 1904 graduate of Bliss, worked for the General Electric Company at Schenectady, N.Y., where he led the inspection of some two miles of switchboards for the Panama Canal. Before going to General Electric, Connelly taught at Bliss; his student Skipwith B. Cole would later become dean of the school's faculty.

Move to Takoma Park

In July 1908, the Bliss Electrical School bought the four-story North Takoma Hotel and its 4.5 acres of land from Thomas H. Pickford.[8] Located on Takoma Avenue between New York and Chicago avenues, the hotel had originally been built by Benjamin F. Gilbert in 1892.[9] Bliss intended to remodel the four-story hotel building into space for classes.[8]

North Takoma Hotel, which was bought by Bliss School of Electricity and used for classes and a dormitory until it burned down in 1908


Eight weeks after classes were first held in the new building, the school building burned to the ground around 2:45 a.m. on November 6, 1908.[10][11] The fire forced almost 200 students in the second floor dormitory to escape the building.[11] As there were no fire escapes, the students climbed out of windows using ropes intended for that purpose.[12] The fire was caused by gas leak in the first-floor kitchen.[12] At the time, Takoma Park did not have a fire station; the closest one was located nearly two miles away in Brightwood.[13]

Afterwards, many Takoma Park residents allowed the students to stay in their homes, many of whom had come from elsewhere in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Brazil, and Japan.[11][14][15] The City of Takoma allowed the Bliss School to use Takoma Hall for classes temporarily, as did Takoma Park Presbyterian Church.[14][16] A new two-story building of brick and reinforced concrete was built at the same site, opening for classes in September 1909.[17][18] A bungalow across the street was acquired to be used as a dining room.[18]

The new Bliss School building, built in 1909 after the previous school building had burned down

On June 3, 1914, Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan addressed the school's graduating class in the auditorium of the Calvary Baptist Church.[19] Bryan said, "No one can set a limit on the growth of the electrical profession. There are greater opportunities for greater discoveries than in any other department of activity. Before you lies a field in which any one of you may be a pioneer."[19]

World War I

In 1917, the United States entered World War I. By special permission granted by the War Department, the Bliss Electrical School organized a searchlight company of engineers consisting of 57 men from the 1917 class, headed by Lt. Clyde K. Krisee of the faculty, and under Major John C. Gotwals of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This company went overseas with the First Division of the American Expeditionary Forces. These men were used for instruction purposes in a searchlight school in Paris. All returned safely to the United States after the war except one, who was killed in an automobile accident in Paris. The captured German searchlight, which adorns the campus, was presented to the Bliss School of Electricity by the War Department as a tribute to the work of the Bliss Searchlight Company of Engineers.

Bliss Electrical School Takoma Park, D.C. Drafted men from Washington, D.C., installing wires for electric lights and motors in the wiring laboratory. An intensive course of training for electricians in the army was given at this school.
Drafted men from Washington, D.C., install wires for electric lights and motors in the Bliss wiring laboratory in 1918. The school provided an intensive course of training for Army electricians.

At the request of the War Department in 1918, Bliss School prepared an intensive training course in the fundamentals of electricity for drafted men entering the Army. This course was adopted by the War Department, and was the first course used in all the colleges throughout the country, giving instructions along this line to army personnel in the Student Army Training Corps. The school contracted with the War Department to house, feed, and instruct selected groups of soldiers for this course. Beginning June 15, 1918, the school trained 700 soldiers in three detachments. The contract called for training these men at cost. This cost was determined by the auditors in the War Department at $2.00 for the first detachment, at $1.80 for the second detachment, and $1.62 for the third detachment per man per day for housing, feeding, instruction, and supplies. The school was under military control following instruction hence, following the signing of the armistice on November 11, 1918. The third and last detachment of the Student Army Training Corps was mustered out and disbanded on December 6, 1918, and the school was released from military control. In 1919, Bliss returned to civilian training. The first edition of the Bliss School textbook, Theoretical and Practical Electrical Engineering, was published in September 1921.

World War II

During World War II, the Bliss School was selected by the U.S. Navy as one of six engineering schools to give Primary School in the Electronics Training Program and it graduated over 3,000 students.[20] Bliss Electrical School's building was sold to Montgomery County for $350,000.[21]

BCC High School where the college started, and which lends its tower to the school crest

Montgomery Junior College

The current college was organized in 1946 as Montgomery Junior College, with its campus located at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School.[22] Its first dean was Hugh G. Price.[23][24] The first day of class was held on September 16, 1946.[22] During its first school year, it had about 175 students.[22]

In 1950, the college moved to Takoma Park, absorbing the Bliss Electrical School[25][21] Previously, Montgomery Junior College could only hold evening classes because the high school used the building for its classes during the day, but with the acquisition of Bliss School of Electricity's building, Montgomery Junior College began holding daytime classes as well.[26][27] The first day of classes at the new location began on October 2, 1950.[27] At the time, it was segregated, with an enrollment of over 500 students. The newly established Carver Junior College in Rockville was expected to have 40 African-Americans enrolled, but only 19 managed to show up, due both to problems in finding transportation to school and the cost of tuition.[28]

The Rockville campus of Montgomery College opened in September 1965,[29] and the Germantown campus opened in early 1970s, occupying its present permanent site since 1978. Montgomery College also offers learning opportunities through its extensive Workforce Development and Continuing education programs.

21st century

In 2010, DeRionne Pollard assumed leadership of Montgomery College and its three campuses. She spearheaded the development of a new Montgomery College mission and strategic plan. She has partnered actively with Montgomery County Public Schools and the universities at Shady Grove in the creation of Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success (ACES), a support program designed to help disadvantaged students transition from high school to college completion. The program now has 1,700 students enrolled. Montgomery College is also a member of Achieving the Dream network, a non-governmental reform movement for student success at community colleges.

In 2016, NBC 4 investigated frivolous spending claims made by students and staff against Pollard. NBC 4 had received letters from staff throughout the summer asking the news organization to investigate the president.[30] In response, the school released a statement supporting Pollard and claiming that none of the charges were justified and that there was no inappropriate use of college funds. The matter was dropped.


Cafritz Arts Center, Silver Spring
Cultural Arts Center, Silver Spring

Takoma Park / Silver Spring

The Takoma Park campus began expanding into neighboring city of Silver Spring with the opening of a new Health Sciences Center in January 2004. The campus expansion in Silver Spring included the addition of The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Arts Center which opened in fall 2007. The building houses the campus visual arts programs and the School of Art + Design, formerly the Maryland College of Art and Design, which merged with Montgomery College in September 2004. To reflect the campus's expansion into Silver Spring, the board of trustees renamed the Takoma Park campus as the "Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus" in June 2005.[31] The Cultural Arts Center, which contains two theaters, opened in 2009.[32]


Montgomery College Rockville Campus

In 2008, Montgomery College named its Rockville Campus gallery the Sarah Silberman Art Gallery. In addition to donating $500,000 for its complete renovation, Sarah Silberman funded two endowed scholarships in ceramics and sculpture.[33][34][35] In 2011, Montgomery College built its new Science Center on the Rockville Campus which features 29 new laboratories. In January 2017, the new North Garage with over 900 covered parking spaces was opened on the Rockville campus.


Montgomery College, Germantown campus

In 2011, the Montgomery College Germantown Campus started to expand with the addition of the Life Sciences Park which features the new Holy Cross Germantown Hospital. In 2014, the Germantown Campus add a new Bioscience Education Center which features wet labs, a detached greenhouse complex, and a meeting/conference center. [36]In April 2024, The Hughes announced to open 140,000 square-foot manufacturing facility in the Pinkney Innovation Complex for Science and Technology on the Montgomery College campus.


The Montgomery College Libraries system has a location at each campus.

Organization and administration

The Montgomery College Foundation is a 501(c)(3) (tax-exempt) charitable organization governed by business, alumni and community members.[37] The foundation, with assets of $126,554,999, according to the 2017 IRS 990 form, also helps fund the college, placing it among the top five community colleges in the nation in private funding.[citation needed]

Montgomery College's fiscal year 2019 tax-supported operating budget was $262 million, with funding from Montgomery County, the state of Maryland, and student tuition and fees.[38]


The president of Montgomery College oversees the operations of three academic campuses of Montgomery College in Maryland.[39]


Montgomery College has an enrollment of over 55,000 credit and noncredit students.[40] Of the Montgomery County Public Schools graduates who choose to stay in Maryland for college, 56% attend Montgomery College within the following academic year.[41] The college is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse in the nation,[citation needed] with students from over 170 countries enrolled. The student body of the college is 54% female and 46% male; 90% of college students are in-county residents; and the student body ethnicity is 27% black, 25% hispanic, and 23% white.[42] The college also employs more than 1,500 faculty members.

The college is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.[43] It offers associate degrees and a variety of professional certificates and letters of recognition. The degrees offered are Associate of Arts (A.A.), Associate of Science (A.S.), Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.), Associate of Arts in Teaching (A.A.T.), and Associate of Fine Arts (A.F.A.).

The Rockville campus offers more than 600 courses in more than 40 curricula. The Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus is known for its nursing and allied health science career programs, and the Germantown campus is known for its science programs including computer science and biotechnology.

Montgomery College offers study abroad to over 25 countries. In 2018, Montgomery College students transferred to 375 four-year colleges and universities in 48 states and Puerto Rico.

Admissions and costs

As with most community colleges, admission to Montgomery College is not selective. The college is open to students who are high school graduates or have received their General Equivalency Diploma (GED); the college does not require standardized test scores, such as the SAT or ACT, for admission.[44]

The total tuition and fees per semester, as of 2022, with 15-hours of credits are:[45]

Costs can be more complex than the listed prices, as certain students can qualify for financial aid in the forms of scholarships, student loans, work-study programs, and grants.[46] Tuition rates can be impacted by county budgets and admission trends.[47]

Student life


Each of Montgomery College's three campuses has its own student-run newspaper: The Globe (Germantown),[48] The Advocate (Rockville),[49] and The Excalibur (Takoma Park/Silver Spring).[50]

At its Rockville campus, the college also operates eRadio WMCR, a student-run online radio station,[51] and the award winning[52] MCTV, a 24/7 cable channel that produces programming for and about the college community.[53]


The Montgomery College athletics teams are collectively known as the Raptors. During the Spring 2012 semester the college rebranded the mascot to be representative of all campuses. Sports teams are divided among campuses and compete in the NJCAA. Prior to the Spring 2012 semester, each Montgomery College campus had its own athletic teams. The athletic teams were formerly known as the Knights of the Rockville Campus, the Falcons of the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus, and the Gryphons of the Germantown Campus.[54]

The basketball/volleyball arena, Knights Arena in Rockville, was home to the Maryland Nighthawks of the Premier Basketball League for the 2007 season, before the team moved to Georgetown Preparatory School Field House.

The baseball field, Knights Field, is the home field of the Rockville Express, a member of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Collegiate Baseball League.[55]

In the Fall 2018 semester, Montgomery College teams were elevated to Division I and Division II levels.[56] The Montgomery College teams elevated to the Division I level were men's soccer, women's soccer, men's outdoor track and field, and women's outdoor track and field. The Montgomery College volleyball, men's basketball, women's basketball, baseball, and softball teams are now competing in NJCAA Division II.

National championships

The Knights (Rockville Campus) women's tennis team won the NJCAA Division III National Championship in 2001 and again in 2006.[57] Montgomery College-Rockville golfer Brent Davis won the NJCAA Division III Individual Championship in 2005 with a score of 288.[58]

The Raptors women's track and field team won back to back NJCAA Division III National Championships in 2015 and 2016.[59][failed verification] The Raptors men's track and field team won back to back to back NJCAA Division III National Championships in 2014, 2015, and 2016.[60][failed verification]

Notable people

Main category: Montgomery College people

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources in this section. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Montgomery College" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (April 2013) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

Montgomery College has served over 450,000 credit students since its founding in 1946[41] including:


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  2. ^ "The Bliss School of Electricity". Washington Evening Star. August 21, 1894. p. 5.
  3. ^ "Warder Building, 527 Ninth Street Northwest, Washington, District of Columbia, DC". Library of Congress.
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  5. ^ "Bliss School of Electricity, Washington, D.C." Durham Globe (Durham, North Carolina). August 22, 1894. p. 2.
  6. ^ Bliss event=Bliss Alumni Address, Louis (1955). Bliss Electrical School Alumni Address (Speech). Washington, D.C. Retrieved June 25, 2021.
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  8. ^ a b "Realty Deals in Suburbs: Bliss School Acquires the North Takoma Hotel". Washington Evening Star. July 8, 1908. p. 4.
  9. ^ "Large Amount To Be Spent On Improvements At Takoma". The Baltimore Sun. July 9, 1908. p. 12.
  10. ^ "150 Students Flee $60,000 Fire: Bliss Electrical School is Destroyed by Flames at Washington". The Hope Pioneer (Hope, North Dakota). November 5, 1908. p. 4.
  11. ^ a b c "Bliss School Burned: Two Hundred Students Escape in Night Clothes". Washington Evening Star. November 6, 1908. p. 1.
  12. ^ a b "Bliss School Burns Early This Morning". The Washington Post. November 6, 1908. p. 4.
  13. ^ "Engine for Takoma Park: Movement Begun to Secure Better Fire Protection". Washington Evening Star. November 13, 1908. p. 14.
  14. ^ a b "Citizens Lend a Hand". Washington Evening Star. November 7, 1908. p. 4.
  15. ^ "Many Get Diplomas". Washington Evening Star. June 5, 1909. p. 8.
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  17. ^ "New Home for Bliss School". Washington Evening Star. June 13, 1909. p. 24.
  18. ^ a b "Bliss School Opens With Speechmaking". The Washington Post. September 23, 1909. p. 1.
  19. ^ a b "Bryan Tells of Future in Electrical Field". Washington Evening Star. June 4, 1914. p. 10.
  20. ^ Raymond C Watson Jr. (2007). Solving the Naval Radar Crisis: The Eddy Test – Admission to the Most Unusual Training Program of World War II. pp. 205–207. ISBN 978-1-4251-6173-6.
  21. ^ a b "Experts Meet To Revise Junior College". The Washington Post. August 15, 1950. p. 8.
  22. ^ a b c Donnell, Thomas J. O. (September 11, 1946). "6 New Junior Colleges in State to Open: Tuition Fee Presents Problem In Establishing Any In City". The Baltimore Sun. p. 28.
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  25. ^ "Bliss Electrical School Reunion". YouTube.
  26. ^ "New Home for Montgomery Junior College (photo caption)". Washington Evening Star. August 4, 1950. Retrieved March 3, 2021 – via Chronicling America.
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  28. ^ "Lack of Transit Hampers Negro Junior College". Washington Evening Star. October 3, 1950. Retrieved March 6, 2020 – via Chronicling America.
  29. ^ Filson, Susan (December 10, 1965). "1550 'Make Do' on MJC's New Campus". The Washington Post. p. B13.
  30. ^ Thompson, Tisha; Yarborough, Rick; Piper, Jeff (November 28, 2016). "Presidential Perks: Students, Staff Complain About Spending at Montgomery College". NBC 4. Washington, D.C. Archived from the original on June 22, 2021. Retrieved June 22, 2021.
  31. ^ Montgomery College. Montgomery College Announcement of Campus Name Change Archived December 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  32. ^ "Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center". Silver Spring Arts & Entertainment District. Silver Spring Urban District. Retrieved December 24, 2019.
  33. ^ Holly, Joe (June 2, 2008). "Sarah Silberman; Sculptor, College Benefactor". The Washington Post.
  34. ^ Crisostomo, Contessa (February 27, 2008). "Montgomery College Dedicates Art Gallery to Alumna". The Gazette. Rockville, MD. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016.
  35. ^ Jewish Women's Archive Archived June 1, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  36. ^ LLC, Hughes Network Systems. "Hughes Opens State-of-the-art Manufacturing Facility and Private 5G Incubation Center in Maryland". Retrieved May 6, 2024.
  37. ^ Montgomery College. "Montgomery College Foundation." Archived June 2, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  38. ^ Montgomery College Budget Office
  39. ^ "MC Memories and Milestones Timeline". Montgomery College. Archived from the original on July 29, 2012. Retrieved March 3, 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  40. ^ Montgomery College. Montgomery College Fall 2006 Enrollment Report Archived March 7, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  41. ^ a b Montgomery College. "Montgomery College At a Glance." Accessed July 13, 2010. Archived April 12, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  42. ^ "Montgomery College at a glance – 20190"
  43. ^ Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Philadelphia, PA. "Institution Directory." Accessed July 13, 2010.
  44. ^ Montgomery College Getting Started: How to Apply and Register
  45. ^ Montgomery College Paying for College
  46. ^ Montgomery College Financial Aid
  47. ^ "Montgomery College Tuition Rising for Second Consecutive Year", Bethesda Magazine.
  48. ^ "The Globe". The Globe. Retrieved August 1, 2021.
  49. ^ "About". The Advocate. Retrieved August 1, 2021.
  50. ^ "Welcome to the Excalibur!". Retrieved August 1, 2021.
  51. ^ "eRadio WMCR". Montgomery College. Retrieved August 1, 2021.
  52. ^ "MCTV Awards | Montgomery College, Maryland". Retrieved April 11, 2022.
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  54. ^ Zakour, Kent (December 4, 2013). "Montgomery College reveals new mascot". Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  55. ^ Rockville Express official web site
  56. ^ Montgomery College Elevates Athletics Programs to NJCAA Division I and II
  57. ^ NJCAA Division III Women's Tennis Record Book Archived July 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  58. ^ NJCAA Division III Men's Golf Record Book Archived July 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  59. ^ "MC Women's Track and Field Team Brings Home Three National Championships" (18 May 2015). Inside MC. Montgomery College. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  60. ^ "NJCAA Division III Outdoor Championships". USTFCCCA. U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  61. ^ J. Marshall Guion (IV) (1976). Descendants of Louis Guion, Huguenot, of La Rochelle, France and New Rochelle, West Chester County, Province of New York: A Guion Family Album, 1654 to 1976. Guion. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
  62. ^ The artist's website