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.