Moses S. Koch, the first president of Essex Community College, died Thursday of cancer at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center.
Dr. Koch, 75, became what was then known as the dean when the college was established in 1957. He was installed as the first president when the title was changed in 1962.
He left the school in 1970 in a dispute with the Baltimore County Board of Education, which doubled as community college trustees until a law requiring a separate board went into effect the next year. Both faculty and students campaigned for his retention at Essex.
Tom Juliano, assistant for community affairs to the current president of the college, described Dr. Koch as "one of the most significant influences on the college. He got it started on the right track.
"As a personal friend, he was . . . a joy to know."
Mr. Juliano said it was Dr. Koch's idea to establish a joint program of health education with Franklin Square Hospital. His influence is still felt at the school through the many remaining faculty members, including the current president, whom Mr. Koch hired, he added.
He was also active as a consultant in the establishment of Dundalk Community College, having been named to a committee to study the proposal in 1964.
Born in Baltimore but reared in New York City, he earned his bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin, a master's degree in counseling from Columbia University and a doctorate in educational administration from the University of Maryland.
He served in the Army Air Forces during World War II, reaching the rank of captain.
In 1948, he came back to Baltimore as director of the Veterans Guidance Center at the University of Baltimore. He also served as a counselor and teacher at the Dundalk Junior Senior High School, director of adult education at the First Unitarian-Universalist Church in Baltimore, and as a member of the faculty at what is now Towson State University.
A faculty member and education planner at the Johns Hopkins University Medical Institutions after leaving Essex, he became a member of the staff of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities in 1972, promoting health education programs.
In 1973, he became president of the Monroe Community College Rochester, N.Y., remaining there until 1981, when he became professor of higher education and dean of the College of Human Development and learning at Murray State University in Kentucky.
Returning to Baltimore in 1988, Dr. Koch served as vice president of the Baltimore Council on Self Esteem and as educational consultant to Sheppard Pratt's National Center for Human Development.
He was a former member of the board of the Maryland Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society and was a member of many other community and professional groups.
Dr. Koch was a proponent of conflict resolution and mediation, a concept he helped to introduce in local schools in an effort to quell violence. His writings include newspaper articles on that subject and other educational issues .
In 1989, he was named president emeritus by the Essex Board and, in 1976, was named Educator of the Year by the Rochester Chapter of the Phi Delta Kappa national honorary education fraternity.
Services for Dr. Koch have not yet been arranged.
He is survived by his wife, the former Ann Filomia; a son, Bruce Evan Koch of San Diego; and a daughter, Ellen Jane Koch of Oakland, Calif.