Our Maine Street's Aroostook Issue 7 : Winter 2011 - Page 74

Cele bration Gets Underway for NMCC’s Golden An niversa ry Christie Building entrance - Then and Now Drafting - Computer-Aid Then ed Drafting - N Library ow - Then Library - Now 72 Higher Education WINTER 2011 On June 17, 1961, Maine Governor John H. Reed, an Aroostook County native from Fort Fairfield, signed a bill into law that established an institute in the deactivated buildings of the missile base in Presque Isle. Fifty years later, Northern Maine Community College is a thriving campus with record enrollment serving the region’s higher education and training needs. The New Year marks the beginning of a series of important milestones for NMCC that extend through 2015. The golden anniversary of the College will be celebrated both on campus and in the Aroostook County community throughout that time. Festivities began in the moments that lead into the heralding of 2011 in the heart of downtown Presque Isle when the Star City Star, built two years ago by NMCC welding and metal fabrication students, was raised near the intersection of Main and State Streets at midnight. The Star Rising has fast become somewhat of a tradition in central Aroostook that is looked forward to by area residents as a localized and unique claim to fame, not unlike the ball drop in New York’s Times Square. Activity on campus will begin with the start of the new semester, when the community is invited to join students, faculty, staff and alumni of NMCC, and its forerunners Northern Maine Vocational Technical Institute and Northern Maine Community College, for flashback to the early 1960’s. A sock-hop, complete with music from the era and a noon time malt shop themed meal, will be held in the NMCC gymnasium on Wednesday, January 12, between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Additional activities are planned for later in the year, including a luncheon set to mark the anniversary date of the signing of the legislation that created NMCC on June 17. Invited guests will include all current and former County legislators, and College officials hope to invite former Governor Reed to attend the event. Major events will be held on the weekend of September 9, 10 and 11 when the NMCC Alumni and Friends Organization hosts its second annual Homecoming weekend. A gala 50th anniversary banquet is planned for that time. That activity will include the honoring of NMCC’s 50 Stars, individuals from each of the graduating classes at NMCC over the past five decades who represent the vast array of careers that the College has prepared individuals for through that time, and who by virtue of their profession and service to their communities throughout the region, state and other parts of the country, embody the legacy of the institution. “The College has made a difference in the lives of the thousands of people who have graduated from our programs over the years, as well as their families and the overall economy of the region,” said Jason Parent, director of development and college relations. “We have a lot to celebrate, and we’re looking forward to the many opportunities to do that over the coming few years. We hope folks in the area will join us.”