PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — An Aroostook County college will kick off a major celebration today as Northern Maine Community College launches its inaugural homecoming celebration.
The fete, which runs through Sunday at NMCC, is being launched amid a busy weekend in Presque Isle, as the Presque Isle Fire Department will hold the 47th annual Maine State Federation of Firefighters State Convention this weekend.
Events at NMCC begin at 9 a.m. today with an open house on campus. Visitors have until 4 p.m. to embark on guided tours and a series of activities throughout the day. The event is planned to welcome friends and community members, as well as alumni who may not have been on campus for a number of years to visit the institution and see the changes to NMCC, according to college officials. It also is designed to highlight the campus for prospective students.
There have been many changes on the 87-acre campus since the college was established in 1961 as Northern Maine Vocational Technical Institute. Classes began in 1963. The institution became Northern Maine Technical College in 1989 before taking on community college status in 2003.
Other changes to the institution since it opened include construction of the Martin Building, which houses classrooms and offices, Snow Hall, a residence for students, and a new library and conference center.
Several academic programs have been added over the years, college facilities have been revamped to become more energy-efficient, and in 2008, NMCC launched a first-of-its-kind program in New England geared toward training wind power technicians to operate, maintain and repair wind turbine generators. Enrollment at the college has grown steadily since its inception, especially in the last few years. Enrollment jumped 15 percent this year over last year.
Tours will depart from the Christie lobby at the top of each hour or as needed, or as scheduled by larger groups.
Additional activities include free blood pressure screenings, a free miniworkshop on digital photography from 11:30 a.m. to noon and demonstrations by first-year students in several of the trade and technology labs.
A barbecue and pep rally will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in front of Andrews Hall.
At 2 p.m., NMCC’s Edmunds Library will hold an official opening and reception for “Through the Lens of a Farmer,” a photography exhibit by Presque Isle native Laurence Park. The exhibit features more than three dozen photos of the Presque Isle area, some dating back as far as the late 1800s. The library will have displays throughout the day featuring college memorabilia from throughout the years as well as a historical display with items featuring the Presque Isle Fire Department.
The open house will conclude just before the NMCC Alumni and Friends banquet in the Edmunds conference center, beginning with a social at 5 p.m.
On Saturday, the NMCC Alumni and Friends organization will take part in the Maine State Federation of Firefighters State Convention parade through downtown. The parade begins at 9:30 a.m. at the University of Maine at Presque Isle. Alumni are invited to walk beside the NMCC float.
At 1 p.m., NMCC alumni are invited to play soccer against the NMCC Falcons team or cheer on fellow players.
The festivities wrap up on Sunday as the NMCC soccer team gears up for a regular season game against Eastern Maine Community College on the field at Presque Isle Middle School. The game begins at 1 p.m.