Maritime cadets first to receive NMC's own four-year degree

TRAVERSE CITY — Northwestern Michigan College will confer the first bachelor’s degrees ever offered by the college at a ceremony at 5 p.m., Monday, January 27. NMC is the first community college in the state of Michigan accredited to offer their own four-year degree.

NMC students Nathaniel Lammers and Matthew O’Donnell have completed the necessary requirements to receive their Bachelor of Science in Maritime Technology degrees with honors, and will be in attendance. Lammers and O’Donnell are Great Lakes Maritime Academy cadets and will be honored with a ceremony to be held in the Oleson Center on NMC’s main campus, prior to the regularly scheduled Board of Trustees meeting.

Authorization for community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees in the areas of cement technology, culinary arts, energy production technology and maritime technology was granted when Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed House Bill 4466 into law in December 2012.

NMC, home to the Great Lakes Maritime Academy, one of only six maritime academies in the nation, then began the process to apply for accreditation to offer the maritime technology bachelor’s degree. The college hosted a focus visit by the Higher Learning Commission in August 2013. Focus visits are part of the accreditation process and are conducted to assure that colleges have the necessary curriculum in place and support services necessary to offer courses at a new degree level.

Official notice was received by NMC in November that the Higher Learning Commission’s Institutional Actions Council approved the college’s request to offer the Bachelor of Science degree in Maritime Technology.

“It is fitting that the first community college in Michigan, founded more than 60 years ago, is also the first to offer a bachelor’s degree,” said NMC President Timothy J. Nelson. “The awarding of these degrees is the culmination of a lot of hard work — by our legislators to make community college baccalaureate authorization possible, by the Michigan Community College Association for their work to keep the effort moving forward, by our faculty and staff to make sure we had everything in place to achieve accreditation, and most of all — these students. Our bachelor’s degree commencement will be a fitting honor to these cadets, who have put in the hard work to complete the requirements to be the first-ever bachelor’s degree recipients from Northwestern Michigan College.”

Nelson said NMC’s ability to offer the bachelor’s degree in maritime technology has many benefits. “For our students, it means they can graduate earlier, join the workforce earlier, and earn a more traditional number of credit hours in their pursuit of a bachelor’s degree. Our estimate is that the degree path will save cadets in the neighborhood of $10,000 and allow some to go to work a semester earlier. Given current starting rates for our maritime graduates that could mean as much as $30,000 in extra earnings.

“This degree is also important to our college and to the state of Michigan. As the first community college in the state to achieve accreditation to offer a baccalaureate degree, our success in delivering this program can, and should, serve as an example that there is sound logic in allowing community colleges to provide baccalaureate credentials in fields that leverage their individual expertise and assets.”

Release date: JANUARY 24, 2014

For more information:

Andy Dolan, Executive Director of Public Relations and Marketing
(231) 995-1019