PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Throughout the year, Northern Maine Community College has been hosting events to celebrate 50 years as an academic institution. In June, it held a special ceremony to recognize its founders on its official 50th anniversary. Now NMCC is planning a two-day gala beginning Friday to thank the community and recognize its most outstanding alumni.
The celebration will serve as an opportunity to say thank you to those who have supported NMCC’s work since it was created by the Legislature on June 17, 1961, according to college President Tim Crowley.
Events kick off a 9 a.m. Friday with public tours of classrooms and laboratories, including new facilities and equipment. Community members also will be able to check out more than a dozen local vendors participating in a Harvest Bazaar in the outdoor area in front of the gymnasium. The bazaar runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will feature healthy food samples, fresh produce and other items offered by local farmers, arts and crafts, and other items for purchase. Friday’s activities also will include a free barbecue with music by the Presque Isle Middle School jazz band, followed by additional musical performances, a Zumba demonstration, karaoke music performances, a show by the Moon Dance Studio Cloggers, and an open microphone night. The day’s events will wind down with music from over the decades played by disc jockey Bob Collins, who also is NMCC’s automotive collision repair instructor.
On Saturday, a brunch and pep rally will begin at 11 a.m., followed at 1 p.m. by a soccer match between the NMCC Falcons and a team of NMCC alumni soccer players.
The featured event Saturday evening is expected to draw up to 400 to the campus gymnasium for dancing and NMCC’s 50th Anniversary Gala Dinner and Silent Auction. The evening will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a social sponsored by The Aroostook Medical Center.
During the evening, the college will honor NMCC’s constellation of “50 Shining Stars,” featuring one alumni from each of the graduating classes, as well as three community members who have played a key role in the institution’s development. Over a period of several months last spring and summer a committee identified alumni from each of the classes dating back to 1965. The group set a goal of finding individuals who collectively represented the positive effect the college and its alumni have had on the region, state and beyond over five decades.
To capture those stories, several NMCC students spent the latter half of last summer and a good part of last fall conducting interviews with the individuals.
The stars include a number of individuals in the nursing occupation, such as Sylvia Forte, a nurse manager at Houlton Regional Hospital, and Nancy Putnam, a nurse practitioner at Houlton Family Practice. Other stars are Carolyn Dorsey-Durepo, an assistant professor at University of Maine at Presque Isle; Dr. Leigh Forbush of Hampden, a physician at Family Practice in Bangor & Hampden; and Ryan Guerrette, operations manager at Big Rock Ski Area . The list also includes a number of business owners, teachers, financial officers, masons and computer technicians.
Each honoree will be presented with a special star award designed and crafted by Dennis Albert, NMCC welding and metal fabrications instructor, and his students. Each of the 50 individuals also will have a poster featuring their photo and a quote about their NMCC experience that will be unveiled at the gala. The posters will be hung throughout the corridors on the campus.
A dance with music by Common Crossing, a band led by NMCC alumnus Brian Mosher, will follow the dinner. Proceeds from the evening will benefit the NMCC Foundation, which provides scholarships and other assistance to students.
Funds raised through the silent auction will benefit activities of the NMCC Alumni and Friends Organization.