The Northwestern College Magazine
CCs: A GREAT INVENTION
In the course of writing stories for Nexus, I talk to a lot of people at NMC. One conversation I remember well was a few years ago with Marguerite Cotto, NMC’s just-retired vice president of lifelong and professional learning. A native of Puerto Rico, Cotto said she considered the community college to be among America’s greatest inventions.
Pretty bold statement, I thought. However, as I tried to come up with other candidates (Airplane fight? Jazz? Square pizza?) the truth of Cotto’s choice became more and more evident. The genius of the community college is that it can shape shift according to student needs. At NMC, we are simultaneously a fight school, a music conservatory (jazz, choral and more) and a culinary arts program (where you can learn to make square and round pizza, just for starters.)
This shapeshifting, on a higher level, amounts to an inherent ability for NMC to adapt and reinvent itself as needs and times change—while still retaining the community college’s core identity as affordable and accessible, serving students of all ages and backgrounds. Driven by demographics and accelerated by the pandemic, NMC is now poised at one of those moments of reinvention, as explored in our cover story beginning on page 10.
We may not know exactly what the future holds, but as one of America’s greatest inventions, we can say with confidence that NMC will be ready to meet it.
COLLEGE DISTRIBUTES $5.2 MILLION IN FEDERAL COVID RELIEF FUNDS
NMC students received $3 million in American Rescue Plan funds last September, bringing the total amount of federal COVID-19 relief funds the college has distributed to students to $5.2 million since April 2020.
NMC has prioritized rapid disbursement of four rounds of COVID funds intended for students, as well as supplemented them with dollars raised by the NMC Foundation.
“As the pandemic persists, so do our students’ challenges,” NMC President Nick Nissley said. “We’re pleased to be able to efficiently steward these taxpayer dollars and distribute them to students who have persevered toward their goals through 18 months.”
While the COVID relief dollars are extraordinary, NMC champions affordability as a key element of college access. Besides federal financial aid and more than $1 million in institutional scholarships annually, the college utilizes open educational resources (free and low-cost textbooks) in many classes, and has an on-campus food pantry.
ANDREW ROBITSHEK CHOSEN TO FILL TRUSTEE
NMC’s Board of Trustees unanimously appointed business owner Andrew Robitshek of Traverse City to fill a vacant trustee seat in November 2021. He will serve until the next community college election in November 2022.
The owner of Bay Motor Products, a small manufacturing company, Robitshek, 54, was one of 11 eligible candidates who applied to fll the vacancy. He cited his love of the community, business knowledge and past board experience as driving his interest in serving on the board.