NMC and Oleson Family celebrate final NMC BBQ while continuing student support and community connection

NMC Barbecue logoTRAVERSE CITY — After 65 years and nearly $2 million of projects funded, Northwestern Michigan College and the Oleson Foundation have made the decision that 2020 will be the final year of the NMC BBQ event. The College and the Oleson Foundation remain dedicated to supporting students and continuing the community connection established through the event’s proud history.

“We’ve come a long way in 65 years since the Oleson family and the community first joined together to help build our community’s college. We have accomplished much and our college and region have grown and changed considerably over the years,” said Brad Oleson, NMC BBQ committee member. “As we reflect on that success, we feel now is a great opportunity to look toward the future for new ways to support the college as our students’ needs, and our community, continue to grow and change. We celebrate what we have done together and are excited to extend that path into the future to benefit our students, our college and our community for years to come.”

NMC Barbecue photo“We are incredibly grateful for the Oleson family’s commitment to Northwestern Michigan College. Our college might not be here today if it wasn’t for their vision and dedication,” said Dr. Nick Nissley, president of NMC. “The Olesons and the BBQ not only rallied support and resources over the years, but allowed us to open our campus to the community to celebrate all that we’ve done together for our students. I am confident we will continue the spirit of the BBQ and Oleson family for many years to come and I look forward to it.”

While the traditional BBQ event will not be returning, the College would like to host a celebration for volunteers, supporters and community members when it is safe to do so in the future.

Laura Jaquish at barbecue with kidSince the BBQ first began, there are now a wide variety of ways for the community to learn about, engage with and support the college including through the NMC Foundation, advisory boards, volunteer positions and more.

The Oleson Foundation has pledged to continue their support for the college and its students, just as they have for nearly thirty years. Most recently the Oleson Foundation made a gift of $100,000 to NMC’s new Timothy J. Nelson Innovation Center. Marty Oleson will also continue to serve on the NMC Foundation Board.

The NMC BBQ Committee established an endowed scholarship in 2015 that will provide scholarship support in perpetuity for local students with financial need.

The last in-person NMC BBQ was Sunday, May 19, 2019. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a virtual NMC BBQ was held in 2020. For more information on the history of the event, images from the archives and list of funded projects, please visit nmc.edu/BBQ.


Release date: July 30, 2020

For more information:

Diana Fairbanks
Executive Director of Public Relations, Marketing and Communication
(231) 392-6082 (m)


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