ROBERT L. COOLEY
Robert Cooley was 43 when called upon by Milwaukee leaders to create a school to serve primarily young people who had dropped out of public school – most often to take menial jobs to support family income. Over the next 28 years, he became a national leader in the development of vocational education and oversaw the construction of the Milwaukee Vocational School at Sixth and State Streets.
WILLIAM F. RASCHE
William Rasche took the reins of Milwaukee Vocational School at a pivotal period, when the school became an academic machine, training war production workers during World War II. This influx of adult students, including increases in women and minorities, transformed the institution's mission and was guided by Rasche's insight for the future. When he retired, the school was well on its way to becoming a college.
GEORGE A. PARKINSON
George Parkinson was known as an outspoken champion of educational opportunities for all, regardless of race, creed, or color. Parkinson played an active role in the development and nurturing of public stations WMVS and WMVT, Channels 10 and 36. He envisioned the stations as valuable assets and useful tools for furthering education for adults.
WILLIAM L. RAMSEY
Ramsey oversaw the greatest growth in student enrollment in the institution's history, and planned the expansion and service of the Milwaukee Area Technical College District. Ramsey said that each individual should have the opportunity to reach two goals in life: to make a worthwhile contribution to society and to earn a good, stable, livable wage. MATC campuses opened in Mequon, Oak Creek, and West Allis.
RUS F. SLICKER
Rus Slicker oversaw the streamlining of the institution's financing of MATC District operations, a mandate from the District Board. As the college's fifth president, he greatly increased articulation agreements with the University of Wisconsin System and completed the Master Plan, begun in Ramsey's administration. "If Robert Cooley were to see his school now, 40 years later, I think he'd be amazed," Slicker once said.
BARBARA D. HOLMES
Barbara Holmes was the first woman and first African American to lead the college. She quickly oversaw the successful passage of a $49 million districtwide referendum for the construction of the Health Sciences building and campus child care centers, purchase of Foundation Hall, and other district improvements.
JOHN R. BIRKHOLZ
John Birkholz was brought in from Gateway Technical College as an interim president during a national search. He then won the permanent position. Birkholz embraced the new technologies sweeping the nation and integrated computerization throughout the MATC District. During his administration, online courses were greatly expanded.
DARNELL E. COLE
Darnell Cole saw value in articulation agreements with four-year institutions to assist MATC graduates with furthering their education. During his administration, a host of new colleges and universities – including Historically Black Colleges and Universities and UW-Madison – signed transfer agreements with MATC. The Center for Energy Conservation and Advanced Manufacturing (ECAM) in Oak Creek was constructed.
MICHAEL L. BURKE
Michael Burke's early tenure as president is distinguished by educational innovation, continued enrollment growth, and securing record amounts of grant funding to spur new initiatives. Highlights include launching new green and sustainability programs and the opening of the Photovoltaic Educational Laboratory.