NMC bestows highest honor on Marsh, Teahen

TRAVERSE CITY — Northwestern Michigan College's highest honor, the NMC Fellow award, has been bestowed for 2020 on NMC Foundation Board member Bill Marsh Jr. and longtime college administrator Roberta Teahen.

Bill Marsh Jr.Bill Marsh Jr.
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Marsh, of Traverse City, joined the Foundation Board in 2010 and served as chair from 2016-2018. A partner with his brothers in the Bill Marsh Auto Group, a multi-franchise dealership group with more than 300 employees, he served as annual fund co-chair before joining the executive committee as an officer.

Marsh said he admires NMC’s wide reach and profound impact on northern Michigan, as well as the “strategic, entrepreneurial spirit” he sees among college faculty and staff.

“This college sees its role as beyond what a traditional community college does. (We’re) seeking to invest in the human capital of northern Michigan,” he said.

And those investments pay off every day, whether it’s a veteran coming to NMC to transition back to civilian life, a traditional college student saving money before transferring or a business like the Marsh Group tapping into professional development and training programs.

“You hear those stories of transformed lives through education and it really provides the fuel to be advocates,” said Marsh, who also writes a blog, Making You Matter, and is active in his church.

Roberta TeahenRoberta Teahen
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Teahen, also of Traverse City, dedicated more than 30 years of her professional life to NMC in roles ranging from business faculty member to academic chair to director and dean. She established important outreach and relationships and fostered technical and occupational programs and certificates across multiple disciplines.

“Education is never lost. Once you have it, it’s yours forever, and it opens doors,” said Teahen, who retired from NMC in 2001. Serving at Ferris State University since then, she dedicated her talents to helping other institutions improve and is now director of the doctorate in Community College Leadership program, which counts three NMC staff as alumni. Teahen has also made nearly 100 site visits to evaluate colleges of all types as a consultant for the Higher Learning Commission.

“I am sold on the community college,” said Teahen, whose own education path started at what is now St. Clair Community College and culminated in 2010 when she earned a PhD in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education from Michigan State University.

At NMC Teahen also served as a champion for student success and was instrumental in the writing of a grant to the state of Michigan which resulted in the creation of the Parsons-Stulen M-TEC Center, now the centerpiece of NMC’s Aero Park campus.

 Today, higher education is faced with many challenges, from public skepticism to a lack of funding to changing demographics, but Teahen believes NMC can meet those challenges.

“NMC has always invested in innovation, so my biggest hope would be it continue to be responsive,” Teahen said.

The Fellow is Northwestern Michigan College's highest honor, awarded annually since 1964. Fellows may be nominated because they have demonstrated influential networking on behalf of the College, have demonstrated a pattern of outstanding financial or personal time contributions to NMC, or as a retiree of the College continue to contribute back to their academic or professional fields as volunteers, mentors or advisors. Exceptional contributions in one or more of these areas may justify nomination.

See a list of past recipients.

Release date: FEBRUARY 24. 2020

For more information:

Diana Fairbanks
Executive Director, NMC Public Relations, Marketing & Communications
(231) 995-1019


Northwestern Michigan College is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, disability, genetic information, height, weight, marital status or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions. nmc.edu/non-discrimination