The First Fifty Years: a Foundation for the Future
The earliest activity in providing community college services to the Clare and Gladwin areas began in 1962. Two years later the concept of the College was endorsed by the two local intermediate school districts and the five local school districts within the two counties. As a result of the acceptance of this basic concept, a Citizens Advisory Council was formed to determine the feasibility of establishing a community college. The report of the Council, completed in 1965, recommended the formation of a local community college. The report was then submitted to the Michigan Department of Public Instruction and notification of approval for the College was received in July, 1965.
In September, 1965, a special election was held to obtain community authorization for establishment of the College, to elect a governing Board of Trustees, and to approve a construction and operating millage of 1.5 mills to be levied against the assessed property valuation in the voting district. The favorable response of the voters resulted in official approval by the Michigan State Board of Education to establish Michigan's 25th community college.
During 1966-67, an administrative staff was employed to develop the initial planning for the College and the instructional programs. At the same time, an architect was developing a master plan for campus construction and development of the 560-acre site. Construction of the initial $1.5 million facility began in May, 1968.
In the fall of 1968, the first courses began in temporary facilities in the Clare County Building in Harrison. The Practical Nursing Program was started at the Central Michigan Community Hospital and the vocational and technical courses were conducted at the Area Vocational School, both in Mt. Pleasant. Temporary facilities for the library and audio-visual materials were obtained from the Harrison Public Library. During the fall of 1969, courses moved to the present Harrison Campus location and continued to be held at the Mt. Pleasant locations.
Construction of the Student Center was completed in 1972; the Goldberg Orientation Center, which originally housed the College's child care facilities, and a small engine repair building were added in 1973; the allied health facilities and Automotive Technology Center were completed in 1976; and the Climate Control Center was constructed in 1979. A Technical Trades Center opened for courses in the fall of 1983.
In December of 1993, the College purchased a three-story modern office building in Mt. Pleasant. The building was converted to a striking campus facility on an attractive site during 1994. The Mt. Pleasant Campus expanded the services available to Isabella and Gratiot Counties.
In the fall of 1998, the College opened an extensive expansion with improvements on the Harrison Campus, adding new science and health education facilities.
In the fall of 1999, Mid was granted funding for a Michigan Technical Education Center (M-TEC) to serve business, industry, and the community. The Center was completed in 2001 and provides training for employees and potential employees of industrial and skilled trades.
The Student Orientation and Academic Readiness (SOAR) Center opened in August 2004. This Center consolidated student services and academic support in one building to provide more comprehensive, coordinated service centered on student needs. Students now have easier access to all services in an inviting atmosphere.
Recognizing the growing need for skilled healthcare professionals, Mid opened the Herbert D. Doan Center for Science and Health Technologies in the Spring of 2008. Located on 44 acres in Mt. Pleasant, the Doan Center is a vital part of Mid's effort to expand its highly respected nursing program and establish new health science programs. The Doan Center doubled Mid's available space in Mt. Pleasant and provided additional science labs, classrooms, and computer labs. Further expansion continued at the site of the new Mt. Pleasant Campus. An addition to house student services was completed in March 2011. The Center for Liberal Arts and Business opened in 2014 consolidating services in Mt. Pleasant. Finally, the Morey Technical Education Center opened in early 2015 on the Mt. Pleasant Campus. The technical center allows the College to meet the workforce demands of the region and complement the technical training available on the Harrison Campus. Students are now able to receive a full range of services at either campus location - Harrison or Mt. Pleasant.
In early 2018, Mid's Board of Trustees approved a resolution to change the name of Mid Michigan Community College to Mid Michigan College. This change reflected the wider range of locales and more diverse student population the College serves. Being community-inspired and community-dedicated is at the heart of Mid’s mission, and that has always been and will always be the case. The name now aligns with the College’s mission to develop knowledge and ability to empower learners and transform communities regardless of where they live and how they attend courses. At a national level, many community/junior/technical colleges have changed their names to convey that they offer expanded services and programs of study. This trend follows in Michigan, in which 9 of the 28 community colleges do not currently have community in their names. As we continue to respond to needs and demands, we anticipate that Mid may begin offering bachelor degrees in select programs. This name change positions us for such a transition. The name change took effect July 1, 2018.
From 2018 to 2020, the Harrison Campus main classroom building underwent a $13M renovation to provide an inviting place for members of the community and a more student-friendly atmosphere. In addition to providing classroom, library, and student activity space for current students, the project provides adequate space to accommodate a 25% growth in future enrollments. Newly renovated spaces include a campus store and café, student food pantry, veteran’s resource center, fitness center, and wellness areas. Updated electrical and mechanical systems now position Mid’s Harrison Campus to be one of the most energy-efficient community colleges in the State.
To increase usage and enjoyment of Mid's 560-forested acres, the College constructed an Outdoor Education Center in 2019. This center serves as the trail head for the biking and hiking trails that are frequently used by community members, mountain biking enthusiasts, and local high schools. The center features a flexible layout, and the 1,600 square feet of interior space and 1,400 square feet of outdoor space can be configured for use as a classroom or event venue.
In May of 2021, residents of the Mt. Pleasant Public School District voted to join the College's in-district service area in an annexation vote. Mt. Pleasant joined Beaverton, Clare, Farwell, Gladwin, and Harrison school districts to make up the College's new district.
Since the College opened its doors to 196 students in the fall of 1968, it has worked to meet the needs of the community and is now serving more than 4,000 students annually.