NCCC was created in 1962 and took its name from the County of Niagara, its local sponsor. The original campus was located in downtown Niagara Falls, and its main building was the former Nabisco Shredded Wheat plant. The building was featured for many years on boxes of cereal sold throughout the world.
Niagara County Community College was founded on November 8, 1962, but there were no buildings, staff, courses, or students. All of that would come in a remarkably short time, prompting the American Association of Junior Colleges to call NCCC “a miracle of accomplishment.”
The first college president, Dr. Ernest Notar, ceremonially opened the front door, admitting NCCC’s first 343 students on September 30, 1963, in Niagara Falls, N.Y. The original building, located at 430 Buffalo Avenue, was formerly the office of the Nabisco Shredded Wheat plant, which explains the College’s quickly acquired nickname of “Nabisco Tech.”
As the College grew, facilities in Niagara Falls expanded to include the former Third Street School, several homes nearby, the Parkway Inn, the Waldorf-Niagara Motel, the former Olin Laboratory, a former Mormon church, and a portion of the DeVeaux School. It soon became evident that these temporary facilities had been stretched to the limit and a permanent campus was necessary.
Decisions about where the new campus should be located were the subject of debate for some time. Of the many possible sites studied, Pekin was the preferred choice because of its accessibility and nearness to the center of Niagara County’s projected population. The Wendt property at the intersection of Route 31 (Saunders Settlement Road) and Route 429 (Townline Road) was eventually selected for the location of NCCC’s permanent, eight-building campus in June 1966. Ground was broken in September 1970, and the first classes began in the spring semester of 1973. The original five curricula expanded as facilities and faculty were added to the Sanborn Campus.
Today, NCCC has over 7,300 students enrolled in over 70 programs of study. Thousands of others take advantage of the College’s extensive credit-free courses, short-term vocational programs, and many cultural and social events.
Acknowledgment: Portions of this history have been borrowed with permission from the two college histories written by Graham Millar, Professor Emeritus of History.