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Mack in the Past – An insight to What Merrimack Was Like 20 Years Ago

By Aidan O’Leary ’19

Staff Writer


Twenty years ago, Merrimack College was in its 50th year of existence as the school was first established in 1947. Media Center Director Kevin Salemme, who was working at the college at the time, began working at Merrimack in 1984 when he was 23 years old. A well known staple of Merrimack faculty who won Administrator of the Year in 2004-2005, Salemme was 36 years old in 1997 and is still at Merrimack to share some history of the college.

Salemme was quick to start a conversation about Charlie Day, who was a Merrimack student 20 years ago. Day is now a prominent TV producer as well as a Hollywood movie actor. Salemme taught Day in a movie making class and showed him how to make and edit movie clips.

Day actually filmed his first episode of what would become a hit and current hit TV show called “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” while a student of Salemme’s. Salemme’s office is located in the basement of McQuade Library, where it has been for years. This is the spot where Day and his friends would hang out. Salemme mentioned that Day had a bright personality and would always be hanging out and joking around.

As for the school itself, Salemme said that it “seemed smaller.” He mentioned that The Sakowich Center did not exist in 1997, and that in its place was Guildea Hall. In Guildea Hall was the student cafeteria, post office, student activity center, and bookstore. The bookstore and post office were located in the basement of Guildea.

Although Gildea doesn’t exist anymore, Salemme said the stairways on the outskirts of the “Sak,” as students call it, were part of Guildea. The outskirts of the Sakowich Center is almost double the size that Guildea was.

In addition, the student buildings that were in place in 1997 that are still on campus today include McQuade Library, Austin Hall, Cushing Hall, Sullivan Hall and Mendel Hall. Mendel Hall was new in 1997. Student residence halls include the Deegans that were much smaller, as well as Ash and the Apartments. There was no Monican, O’Brien, Rogers Center, Athletics Complex in 1997.

As for students, Salemme said there were around 1,800 to 1,900 students. Currently, Merrimack has 3,200 undergraduate students and 500 postgraduate students.

There are a few professors that currently teach here at Merrimack that were also here in 1997. Along with Salemme, some of them are Ellen Longsworth who is an Art History professor, Sara Egan who is a Drawing and Painting professor, and David Raymond, who is retiring after this year.  Raymond is a Drawing and Painting professor as well.

Merrimack College has been through a number of changes since 1997. There have been a number of additions to the school as it has grown larger, and continue to grow larger. Professor Salemme has been here to witness the growth of the school and continues to develop bonds with students and other member of Merrimack’s faculty. Professor Salemme is an outgoing guy who’s time is spent teaching and hanging out with his students, such as he did with Charlie Day, in his basement office of McQuade Library.