Our History

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In 1999, a small group met with David Baty, former director of University College at Bath/Brunswick, for the purpose of establishing an opportunity for life-long learning in the Midcoast area. They were inspired by the vision of Rabbi Harry Sky who had helped create the Portland-based senior college.

Their goal was to create a similar opportunity for seniors in the greater Midcoast area who wished to continue to learn.

Nancy Wheeler and Jack Thompson spearheaded this endeavor with David Baty’s assistance, and a letter went out to the public. The response was overwhelming, and an open house was held. The following spring, March of 2000, six courses were offered.

Currently we offer 25 – 30 courses during both the fall, winter and spring terms, with volunteer faculty and a term enrollment of over 500. Courses range from American studies, art history, fiction and poetry, and architecture, to painting and drawing, computer skills, and music. And much more! Our students are aged 50 and above. There are no exams, no grades, and no credit hours given.

We invite you to read a detailed historical account of the history of Midcoast Senior College, authored by Robert C. Williams with research assistance from Nora Bishop and editorial support from Jack Henderson in honor of MSC’s 20th anniversary in 2020: MSC The First 20 Years.

Our Organization

One of seventeen autonomous, self-governing senior colleges in Maine, we serve the area from Damariscotta to Freeport and inland towards Augusta.

During our first twelve years, we were a program of University College at Bath/Brunswick, part of the University of Maine System. In May 2012, we became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization, retaining close ties with University College until our move in June 2014 to the Brunswick Center of Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU).  In the fall of 2017, SNHU announced the closure of its Brunswick Center in 2018.  After much study and discussion, we leased space for a new home at 29 Burbank Avenue, Suite 6, in Brunswick (at Brunswick Landing, the former Naval Air Station).

MSC is administered by a Board of Directors of 15 members that meets monthly for planning and policy decisions. The Board has committees and subcommittees for administration, curriculum, development & marketing, finance, special events, long-term planning, and volunteers. Bylaws guide our Board and committees, and their chosen membership is drawn from interested students who wish to offer their expertise and passion for the cause of this significant educational endeavor. Thus, here at the College retirement-age learners design and implement the educational experience that expresses their own values and interests. Please see our Volunteers page to learn how you can become a volunteer with your Midcoast Senior College.
For further information, visit our Frequently Asked Questions page. To learn more about Jack Thompson, visit Remembering Jack Thompson.