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SMC Trustees review academic enhancements

The 22 high-achieving Southwestern Michigan College graduates inducted into Alpha Beta Gamma international community college business honor society boost SMC’s growing population of honors students, the Board of Trustees heard May 21 from Dr. Stacy Young, dean of the School of Business and Advanced Technology, and Leon Letter, ABG advisor. “Sometimes people wrongly think community colleges only provide last-resort access to higher education. But we’re also the college of first choice for a lot of high-achieving students who could have been admitted to four-year institutions,” President Dr. David Mathews said.

Gamma Nu chapter of ABG is SMC’s fourth avenue for students to distinguish themselves academically, along with Sigma Psi chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for community colleges; Psi Beta, the national community college psychology honor society; and SMC’s homegrown Honors Program.

Letter said the Business Club arranges speakers on such topics as alternative marketing careers and supply chain management.

“They get to see what careers are out there and how people rose to those positions,” Letter said. “We also do social events for students, such as the chili cook-off and a clothing drive for the career fair. We’ve taken them on trips. Last year we went to Detroit when Little Caesars Arena opened for a behind-the-scenes tour of how sports teams operate. We went to the Ford Rouge plant. We took them to the (Das Dutchman) Essenhaus (in Middlebury, Ind.) to see how restaurants and retail work, we took them to Conn-Selmer (the Elkhart, Ind.-based manufacturer of band instruments).

“However, Business Club’s limitation is it doesn’t provide any academic honors,” Letter said. “We know these students are going to be successful when they transfer, but how do we keep them engaged until they graduate? Being part of ABG provides eligibility for up to $500,000 in scholarships that transfer universities give to those members, and it also offers a research and writing competition.”

“There are leadership opportunities, too, because the society has a president, secretary and treasurer of the organization,” Young said.

In his President’s Report, Mathews announced that the rededication of the $9.6-million Nursing and Health Education Building is planned for 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, in conjunction with a Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours.