Maxine Nathanson, MCTC Foundation Board Member and Advocate for Community and Technical College Education, Passes Away
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Maxine Nathanson, long-time board member of the Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) Foundation, passed away Sunday, Sept. 11 at age 89.
Nathanson played an important role in advocating for educational access for Minneapolis youth and adults over a period spanning six decades. In the early 1960s, Nathanson served alongside Minneapolis Mayor Arthur Naftalin on the Junior College Action Committee that was charged with recommending the location of the first community college in Minneapolis. Based on this committee’s deliberation and Nathanson’s support, Minneapolis Community College, first known as Metropolitan State Junior College, opened its doors in 1965 on the first floor of Minneapolis Central High School.
Nathanson continued her community leadership roles in higher education including serving on a Citizens League committee in 1967 that recommended merging Minnesota’s community and technical colleges – an action that ultimately transpired decades later through the creation of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System (MnSCU). In 1977, when construction began on the first permanent new building of Minneapolis Community College (now Kopp Hall), Nathanson led the groundbreaking ceremony.
Nathanson was also prominent in advocating for Minneapolis Technical College. In the 1970s, Nathanson worked closely with community, business and public school leaders to pass a bonding referendum to fund the construction of a new technical college building and relocate the technical college to Hennepin Avenue. The building was completed in 1980 and is the current T Building of MCTC. Nathanson also was a long-time member of the Minneapolis Technical College’s Board of Advisors and was a founding member of the Minneapolis Technical College Foundation Board of Directors in the 1990s.
Nathanson also served on the Minneapolis Community College Foundation in the 1990s and continued her service as a foundation director when the community and technical college foundations merged in 1996. In all, Nathanson served over two decades as a foundation director and an advocate for scholarships and funding for low-income students.
“Maxine’s spirit and passion for MCTC’s students will be sorely missed,” stated Phil Davis, President of MCTC.
In addition to educational advocacy, Nathanson was an activist during the Civil Rights Movement and participated in Wednesdays in Mississippi in the early 1960s – a program in which women of different races and faiths traveled to Mississippi to create bridges of understanding across regional, racial and class lines. As part of MCTC’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, Nathanson retold her experience to hundreds of MCTC students.
Nathanson served other important roles in the community including leading the Citizens Committee on Public Education for 15 years. Nathanson also was a long-time member of the University of Minnesota’s Women’s Athletics Advisory Council and served on boards and committees of the National Council of Jewish Women, the Urban Coalition of Minneapolis and the Minnesota Council for the Gifted.
Read the Star Tribune's obituary for Maxine Nathanson.
About Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC)
MCTC is a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, and offers students more than 120 liberal arts, technical and career programs designed to prepare them for good jobs in high-demand professions or transfer to a four-year college or university. Located in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, MCTC enrolls more than 14,000 students annually and is an active partner in initiatives designed to strengthen the social, economic and cultural vitality of the Twin Cities metropolitan area.