PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Throughout its 50 years of existence, Northern Maine Community College has had a number of outstanding alumni.
So far, the college has identified most of the people who have attended NMCC or its forerunners, Northern Maine Technical College and Northern Maine Vocational Technical Institute. A search is on to find three more in order to complete a special project meant to celebrate the college’s 50th anniversary.
The NMCC Alumni and Friends Organization wants to identify members of the community who have played a key role in the development of NMCC since its inception as part of its 50 Shining Stars project. Organizers were looking for alumni to represent each of the years that NMCC, NMTC and NMVTI have graduated students.
The college was founded on June 17, 1961, when Gov. 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. It began welcoming students in 1963 and held its first graduation in 1965.
Most of the Shining Stars slots have been filled. One will be taken up by a member of the Class of 2011, but there are three more openings.
“We decided that it would be most appropriate to honor some of NMCC’s community friends who have helped advance the college in meaningful ways over the past five decades,” Scott Carlin, president of the NMCC Alumni and Friends Organization, said recently. “It is reflective of the critical and much appreciated support NMCC has received from throughout the region since the days when the institution was just a dream to the very real success it is today. It also goes well with our group’s inclusive mission to engage all alumni and friends of the college.”
Last spring and summer, a committee of the NMCC Alumni and Friends Organization held meetings and work sessions to identify alumni from classes dating back to 1965. The group set a goal of finding individuals who collectively represented the array of academic programs and the far-reaching effect the college and its alumni have had throughout the region, state and beyond over five decades.
Cindy Albert, a member of the selection committee, said the group is looking to find a “really good mix” of people who have been successful and have made a positive difference in their professions, communities and the lives of others.
Late last year several NMCC students conducted interviews and collected photographs of the Shining Stars.
In the coming months, the students’ work and the Shining Stars success stories will be shared with the community through a college-initiated marketing campaign and in campus publications.
The Alumni and Friends Organization honored four of the Shining Stars as the forerunners to introduce the project at the alumni banquet last fall. Robert Clark of Fort Fairfield, Robert Lilly of Scarborough, Nancy Putman of New Limerick and Ammie Toby of Houlton were recognized on Sept. 10, 2010.
The three yet-to-be-named community members will gather with the other recipients at the NMCC 50th Anniversary Gala Banquet in September. Posters will be unveiled there featuring a photo of the individual stars, information about the person and a quote about their NMCC experience.
The college kicked off its yearlong celebration in early January with a 1960s celebration. The gymnasium was transformed into a diner and drive-in, complete with screening of movies. Wait staff served free burgers and hot dogs and a soda fountain counter featured milkshakes and ice cream sundaes.
Also planned is a luncheon set to mark the anniversary date of the signing of the legislation that created NMCC on June 17. NMCC officials are inviting all current and former Aroostook County legislators and also hope to have former Gov. Reed attend the event.
Major events will be held on the weekend of Sept. 9, 10 and 11, when the NMCC Alumni and Friends Organization holds its second annual Homecoming weekend.
Individuals who would like to recommend a Shining Star they feel has contributed significantly to the NMCC community are encouraged to send a letter of nomination explaining why that person is deserving of the honor.
Letters should be mailed to the NMCC Alumni and Friends Organization, 33 Edgemont Drive, Presque Isle 04769, or e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for submission for nomination letters is March 1. For information, contact the NMCC Foundation and Alumni Office at 760-1188.