Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Rep. Miller promotes politics to young people
State Rep. Aaron Miller vowed during his improbable 2014 Michigan House campaign to involve more young people in politics. The Sturgis Republican is still only 29 in his second Lansing term representing 93,000 constituents. He returned to his second home, the classroom, on President’s Day to talk to Southwestern Michigan College American government and U.S. history students, familiarizing them with web sites by which they can “monitor the political process,” tracking bills or votes to hold officeholders accountable.
‘Chicago’ opens weekend run Feb. 23
Southwestern Michigan College’s production of the 1975 musical “Chicago” opens Thursday with the directorial debut of Dan Maxon (Billy Flynn), Lindsey Ludens (Roxie Hart) and Mariah Rifenberg (Velma Kelly). When singer Velma murders her philandering husband, slick lawyer Flynn intends to defend her — until Roxie also lands behind bars. The Prohibition-era media-manipulation circus that ensues between seven competing dailies resonates with today’s fake news and fame and fortune at any cost.
Shelby Pruett to study in Northern Ireland
Immediately after Southwestern Michigan College’s 50th commencement May 6, Shelby Pruett, one of the first eight graduates of SMC’s Michigan State University Ag Tech partnership, flies to Northern Ireland. The partnership helps students earn MSU certificates while working toward SMC associate degrees. She will earn six MSU credits for six weeks studying at CAFRE, the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise.
Bond refinancing saves taxpayers $2 million
Southwestern Michigan College saved taxpayers $2 million Jan. 25 refinancing June 2008 bonds sold to construct Keith H. McKenzie Residence Hall and to add the Student Activity Center to the Charles O. Zollar Building.
Chairman Jerdon awarded 25-year service pin
The Southwestern Michigan College Board of Trustees Dec. 19 recognized Chairman Thomas F. Jerdon of Dowagiac for 25 years of service. Jerdon, who joined the SMC board in December 1991, is vice president of Jerdon Real Estate in Silver Creek Township.
Phi Theta Kappa re-pins board Chairman Tom Jerdon
Southwestern Michigan College Board of Trustees Chairman Thomas F. Jerdon figures 11 mentors helped him reach this point. Jerdon, keynote speaker for the induction of 19 students into Sigma Psi Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for community colleges, at the Student Activity Center on the Dowagiac campus was awarded a 5-Star pin by Co-Advisor Colleen Welsch.
Three psychology students win Chicago trips
Southwestern Michigan College psychology students Mollie Grabemeyer, Arrow Truex and Kristen Arnold won fully-funded trips to Chicago for posters entered in a first-time contest. The three will attend Midwestern Psychological Association’s annual meeting with SMC faculty in April 2017. “We were blown away by the posters and are so very proud of our students,” Social Sciences Department Chair Christi Young said after Dec. 6 judging.
SMC hosts 500 Cass sophomores for Career Awareness Day
More than 500 Dowagiac, Cassopolis, Edwardsburg and Marcellus sophomores attended Lewis Cass Intermediate School District’s Career Awareness Day Dec. 2 on Southwestern Michigan College’s Dowagiac campus. Participants, including Pathfinders Alternative and Adult Education, navigated five 30-minute sessions exploring health, sports management, criminal justice, social work, education, business, information technology, accounting, marketing, automotive technology, construction, robotics, welding, agriculture and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). At lunchtime students heard new LCISD Superintendent Brent Holcomb, who guided Alpena Public Schools, 2007-16.
Second STEMCon features art, women
Southwestern Michigan College’s STEMCon debuted in 2015 with the new William P.D. O’Leary Building and picked up STE(A)M Nov. 18 collaborating with artists. STEMCon II, whose 100 registrants included 23 teachers and 77 students from 12 schools, prominently featured women, including keynote speaker Melissa Lewis, Stryker Medical vice president for human resources in Portage, and three Penn High School engineering students. Sophomores Amy Portolese and Caroline Tiebout and junior Kaitlin Kelsey were students in Jim Langfeldt’s inaugural 30-member All Girls Introduction to Engineering class at the 3,600-student Mishawaka, Ind., school.
SMC student from Hawaii
At Southwestern Michigan College, students travel varying distances to class, but rarely 4,267 miles and a 10-hour flight through San Francisco to Chicago. Except for living in Keith H. McKenzie Hall on the Dowagiac campus, nursing student Christina Lai merits consideration for SMC’s champion commute. Born in Vietnam, Lai moved to Hawaii after third grade and skipped fourth grade, enabling her to graduate from Penn High School in Mishawaka, Ind., and complete her first semester of SMC prerequisites while still 17.
SMC wins Chamber's ‘Shining Star’
Southwestern Michigan College won Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce’s “Shining Star” Oct. 19 at its annual dinner and membership recognition at Elks Lodge 889.
SMC women build momentum in construction
Carlyn McClelland, 35, of Elkhart, a former probation officer, holds a Michigan State University bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Victoria Knight, 21, of Niles, graduated from Brandywine High School in 2013, then attended University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne, Ind., for nursing. Ileona Geroux, 18, a 2016 Sturgis High School graduate, imagined taking Glen Oaks Community College general courses. Heaven Burfield, 18, a 2016 Covert High School graduate, wanted to be a lawyer growing up. The four met in September working side by side during year two of SMC building a “green,” 504-square-foot small house.
Kim Gravel builds up SMC students
Purpose is not what a woman does, but why she was born, like a mission statement: Kim Gravel builds. “Purpose is not a job or talent, it’s a search. I can trace it to 5 or 6, but didn’t get it until much later,” Gravel told Southwestern Michigan College First Lady Sarah Mathews’ third annual mentoring dinner Oct. 4 in Mathews Conference Center East on SMC’s Dowagiac campus.
SMC builds world's largest blanket fort
Southwestern Michigan College students succeeded Saturday in constructing what they believe will be confirmed in weeks to come as the world’s largest blanket fort.
SMC rededicates Daugherty Building to humanities
Southwestern Michigan College Sept. 27 reopened the Foster W. Daugherty Building, named in 1988 for the banker who served on the Board of Trustees for 34 years, 1969-2003.
140 area students experience Chicago Auto Show
Southwestern Michigan College’s 140 Chicago Auto Show visitors Feb. 15 saw Chevrolet’s life-sized LEGO Batmobile, the Toyota Tundra Cubs truck toting a 10-foot-tall World Series trophy, a Blackhawks custom Camaro convertible defended by cutouts of hockey players Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane and a three-wheeled Polaris Slingshot motorcycle.
Meet SMC's new nursing class
Southwestern Michigan College’s freshman nursing class was on display Feb. 7 in the Student Activity Center. Fifteen women and three men in matching forest green shirts stood by cultural-sensitivity projects.
Barham revisits teaching at SMC
Phil Barham held court into the evening Feb. 3 at Southwestern Michigan College after promising 20 area students to “take as many questions as you throw at me.” Barham, Tennessee Technological University saxophone professor who taught at SMC 10 years, alternated between virtuosity and dynamic control and expounded on his “tough love” teaching style.
Civil War didn't end slavery
Cathy Knauf surprised the audience for the southwest Michigan premiere of the documentary “Break the Chain” at Southwestern Michigan College Feb. 1 by suggesting they support human trafficking. “If you have a car or cellphone, if you wear cotton, if you drink coffee, if you eat chocolate, you already are supporting it,” Knauf said, calling attention to an online quiz at slaveryfootprint.org, which estimates 27 million slaves worldwide — roughly Australia and New Zealand populations combined. “People usually think of sex trafficking,” she said, “but it’s also labor trafficking.” Not only did the Civil War not end slavery, Knauf said the second-largest criminal enterprise enslaves more people than at any time in history, growing faster than drugs by dehumanizing people into resalable commodities.
Students organizing SMC Invitational
Southwestern Michigan College’s sports management program Saturday, Feb. 11, hosts the inaugural SMC Invitational—Michigan Special Olympics basketball from 9 a.m. until noon in the Charles O. Zollar Building gymnasium on the Dowagiac campus. Operational oversight for four competing Cass County teams provides lab experience for nine organization/administration students and 14 introduction to coaching students who learn officiating and scorekeeping.
Seven new employees for spring semester
Southwestern Michigan College Director of Human Resources Kate Dorner introduced seven new employees at the mid-year update Jan. 5 in Mathews Conference Center East on SMC’s Dowagiac campus.
28 graduates pinned at nursing ceremony
Southwestern Michigan College Vice President of Instruction Dr. David Fleming addressed 28 men and women awarded associate degree in nursing (ADN) pins Dec. 16 in the theatre of the Dale A. Lyons Building on the Dowagiac campus. To keep remarks brief in light of winter-weather advisories, Fleming drew on his English literature background for two limericks.
Kyla Miller promotes disability awareness
Don’t pet Kyla Miller’s Leader Dog. Especially when Winter’s harnessed for work. Don’t ask how many fingers you’re holding up, either. “They want to know what I can see,” Miller said. “I can see a billboard, but probably not what it says. In school, I use glasses with telescopes to see the board.” Miller, a Southwestern Michigan College communications major who wants to become head writer of her own soap opera, is in her second year of residence-hall living on the Dowagiac campus after reigning as Miss Three Oaks/River Valley 2015.
Southwestern Michigan College and Cass County were recognized by the National Weather Service as StormReady communities at the Nov. 17 Board of Commissioners meeting.
Academic Open House spotlights Honors Program
A heavy-metal concert of sorts highlighted Southwestern Michigan College’s inaugural Academic Honors Night Dec. 6. Chemistry Professor Dr. Doug Schauer’s Environmental Research Group (ERG) is not musicians playing concerts, but four students working in concert to remove toxic heavy metals from water with global implications CNN and Time magazine chronicled. SMC’s band of scientists tours California in 2017, and “Dandelions, Cilantro and Toadstools” makes a good album title.
Students enjoy ArtPrize Eight
There’s no place like emoh — home spelled backward. Emoh is Loren Naji’s home away from home, an eight-foot, space capsule-sized sphere with a doorbell and mailbox he lived inside in downtown Grand Rapids throughout ArtPrize Eight Sept. 21-Oct. 9. He represents Earth with 192 pieces of colorful debris from houses demolished in Detroit, Grand Rapids and his native Cleveland as commentary on our backward system of homelessness alongside vacant houses and a fragile environment.
SMC's Guse Farm grows scholarships
Edward A. Guse, a self-described “city boy” from Benton Harbor, nurtured a hobby into a thriving Dowagiac farm business that 14 years after his death is still growing — cucumbers, squash, watermelon and $165,000 this year for Southwestern Michigan College scholarships. Mr. Guse bequeathed the farm south of Dowagiac on the west edge of LaGrange Township to SMC when he died at 80 on Jan. 16, 2002.
SMC dean to lead Michigan nursing education
As president-elect of MCNEA, the Michigan Council of Nursing Education Administrators, Southwestern Michigan College’s Rebecca Jellison will soon lead deans and directors of associate-degree and practical-nursing schools across the state.
SMC repeats as state champions
Four students, the Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) team of Nicole Brill of Niles, Dowagiac Union High School graduate Abbigale Guyott and Tyler Fye of Stevensville and the gold medalist from the criminal justice team, Joseph Herrera of Holland, advance to the 52nd annual National Leaderships and Skills Conference against other state champions June 20-24 in Louisville.