This year 2018 has great historical and current significance for stellar spectral classification. Two hundred years ago in Reggio Emilia, Italy, was born Angelo Secchi, a pioneer of observing and classifying the spectra of stars. At the beginning of the IAU, almost a hundred years ago, one of its original Commissions was entitled the Spectral Classification of Stars, from which was generated Commission 45, Spectral Classification and Multi-band Colour Indices. And seventy-five years ago, was published the system-changing MKK, An Atlas of Stellar Spectra. Through this necessarily brief, historical view we shall recall how spectral classification, supported internationally by the IAU, continually updated its techniques, while remaining anchored to standards. This has ensured that the MK classification process stays very relevant to the initial characterizing of stars in the 21st century era of large spectral surveys.