NMC Timeline

1951: Geographically isolated from Michigan colleges and universities, the Grand Traverse region decides to create its own -- from the ground up, grassroots-style. When NMC's founders are told that the population was too small to have a college, they lobby to get the legislation changed. When no building is immediately available, NMC opens its doors in borrowed facilities at the airport terminal building - with donated materials and volunteer labor. At its opening, NMC has 65 students and a staff of six.

1956: NMC moves to a spacious 100-acre campus "under the pines" on East Front Street. The college holds its first NMC Barbecue, known as the "picnic under the pines," to raise money for buildings on campus as well as unite the community. Nearly 5,000 people are served food that's entirely donated by local grocer Gerald Oleson.

1966: WNMC radio begins as an in-house radio station for the dormitory.

1973: President Emeritus Preston N. Tanis writes "Northwestern Michigan College: The First Twenty Years, 1951-1971."

1984: The White Pine Press debuts as the student newspaper.

1988: $2.5 million bond for campus improvements, including student center.

1989: NMC loses first millage election; returns in August to get approval of lesser amount.

1990: NMC has a student body of 4,000 and a staff of 260.

1991: The Dennos Museum Center opens near the main campus entrance.

1994: Communications instructor Al Shumsky, with assistance from Carole Marlatt, writes, "Northwestern Michigan College; The Second Twenty Years, 1971-1991."

1994: College switches from terms to semesters.

1994: Grand Traverse County approves 1.5 "replacement" mills in perpetuity; four-county millage request fails.

1995: The University Center opens its doors at a new campus on Boardman Lake in the former headquarters of Sara Lee, off of Cass Road south of Traverse City. It becomes the largest higher education partnership in Michigan.

1997: Cadillac campus opens with an enrollment of 302 students.

1999: The Michigan Technical Education Center opens, becoming the centerpiece of NMC's Aero Park Campus. It is named for John Parsons and Robert Stulen.

2001: NMC celebrates its 50th anniversary.

2003: The new Great Lakes Campus opens at 715 E. Front St., and becomes home to the Great Lakes Maritime Academy, Great Lakes Culinary Institute, Great Lakes Water Studies Institute and Hagerty Conference Center.

2004: NMC closes its Cadillac campus. No longer financially viable, and without tax support from Wexford County, the college could not justify maintaining it at a loss.

2006: The Rogers Observatory celebrates its 25th anniversary, having served more than 110,000 people since it was built.

2008: The NMC Barbecue serves its 500,000th patron and, in recognition of the milestone, holds a random drawing for a full scholarship to NMC.

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