Alumni Special

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11.21.2016 Filed Under: Community

 

There is something special about the time we spend between graduation from high school and moving into the adult world of holding a regular job.

For people that translates into “the college years.” It is those stressful, yet carefree times when we transfer from being an overgrown kid into a responsible adult.

OK, for some people that transition takes a little longer than others, but you do get the picture. However, most of us will agree that the memories created and the loyalties to our alma mater are something that last a lifetime.

Over the course of the next several months the administration, faculty, staff and alumni of West Shore Community College are going to embark upon a journey of celebrating 50 years of service to Manistee, Mason, Lake and Oceana counties.

Wow. That is pretty impressive.

What is even more eye catching is the things that have transpired since that first board of trustees meeting on March 27, 1967. During that half century of existence, West Shore Community College has grown into one of the premier community colleges in the state.

If I sound a little prejudiced it comes with good reason. I am one of the thousands who proudly carry a diploma from West Shore Community College. What’s more is the time I spent on that campus was extremely enjoyable.

It’s why to this day I carry a fond spot in my heart for the place and all it stands for in terms of a great educational experience.

West Shore Community College has one of the most beautiful campuses you will find anywhere. What is also amazing is the way college officials have been great stewards of the public’s funds. You look at those buildings and they appear in just as good of condition as the day they came on line.

That, my friends, is impressive.

But West Shore Community College has never been about bricks and mortar. The true magic of West Shore has and continues to lie in the people — the administrators, trustees, staff and yes, in my opinion the best faculty you will find bar none.

Some who haven’t had the West Shore experience don’t realize what it truly means and how it touches those who attend this college. So let’s talk about those faculty dating way back to the day when I was a young idealistic student wandering the campus just out of high school.

The first thing you notice about the WSCC faculty is students aren’t just a number to them. They not only know who their students are, but they call them by their first name.

What’s more is the skills they bring to the classroom. It isn’t only the subject knowledge, but it is that variable you need to be a great instructor — in other words… passion.

Try finding that at a bigger learning institution, it just doesn’t exist.

More importantly, those who walk across that stage of the Recreational Center every year to receive a diploma come away from West Shore Community College with more than an education. They walk away totally prepared to take the next step, be it a four-year college or the workforce.

Secondly, what a student gets is individualized attention from those instructors. Those students who need someone to go the extra yard for them usually find it is the WSCC instructor who is teaching the class.

The third thing that sets West Shore apart is a series of administrators over the past 50 years who aren’t just doing a job, but doing one they love. Let me tell you, that makes a big difference.

It has been my privilege to see all four of them. I attended school under Dr. John Eaton and got to personally know Dr. William Anderson, Dr. Charles Dillon and today Dr. Kenneth Urban. All four are wonderful men who each did great things to keep the college moving forward.

It is why it is so fitting this year that the motto for the 50th anniversary is “honoring our past, but building our future.”  Those words are the foundation of West Shore Community College. College officials never forget who they are, but are always looking for new and better ways of serving their students.

That same thought process is also found in the board room where trustees personal agendas are non-existent. There is one goal, one focus and one path and that is to make West Shore Community College the best it can be to achieve student success.

Those are the things that make me more honored to proudly say, “That’s my college.”


About Ken: Ken attended the College from 1973-1975, and returned in 1989, to receive his Associate of Liberal Arts and Sciences degree. He graduated from Manistee High School in 1973. 


For 30 years, Ken has been a writer for the Manistee News Advocate. He is currently the Associate Editor. Over the years, Ken has received various Michigan Press Association and Associated Press awards for feature writing, breaking news, editorial and column writing.

 

Author: Thomas Hawley | Executive Director of College Communications & Community Engagement

Tags: Alumni