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Our 60th Anniversary

Join us in honoring those who make NMC possible.  More »

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See a timeline of major college events and achievements.  More »

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Photo Galleries

Browse a photo gallery from each of our decades.  More »

History & Archives

“In every way, the Northwestern Michigan College is a people’s college. It was conceived in a regional desire for education and is being financed from the pockets of the poor and rich alike.”


These words were part of an “opening day” story about NMC in the local newspaper — and they describe the whole mission and spirit of the institution, then and now. NMC was established because the citizens of northwest Michigan wanted the benefits of higher education for their children and themselves.

Citizens’ commitment and involvement has distinguished NMC from the beginning. “It’s a can-do college,” one of our trustees has said. “Always has been.” From the college’s earliest home in borrowed facilities at the local airport, NMC moved in 1956 to a spacious 100-acre campus under the pines and today has facilities at four additional locations in the Grand Traverse area.

NMC has become a source of “education” in the largest sense, a source of meaningful new knowledge, skills and experiences. This is our mission, after all, to “provide lifelong learning opportunities to our communities.”

Under the Pines: The Third Twenty Years book coverThree volumes of NMC history have been published (the links below are to PDF versions of the books):

View film footage from 1973 »

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NMC hymn

NMC music director Jeffrey Cobb recorded an instrumental version of a mysterious NMC hymn. Other than its composer, L. Marguerite House, little is known about its origin and use.

Our northland home, we sing to thee,
Northwestern by the Bay

The scarlet of your sunset,
Against a sea of grey
We cheer your colors, let them wave,
And bring our college fame
Northwestern by the Bay,
All honor to thy name