Year in Review: Top Alma College Stories in 2011
2011 — A Year of Accomplishments, Celebrations, New Programs
The 125-year anniversary celebration, a presidential inauguration, the endorsement of strategic and master plans, the roll-out of new academic and athletics programs, and student accomplishments ranging from Model United Nations success, the organization of a national human rights conference and three Fulbright recipients were among the top Alma College stories in 2011. Following is a summary.
• Alma College, founded in 1886, celebrated its 125-year anniversary throughout the calendar year, highlighted by the homecoming celebration in October and a week-long series of events during honors week in April. The events in April included an academic symposium on building sustainable and compassionate communities and a student concert by the Neon Trees.
The choir performs at the inauguration.
• Amidst the pageantry of the bagpipes-led procession of faculty and visiting delegates, a surprise choir “flash mob” performance of “Loch Lomond” and a Scotty video, Jeff Abernathy was inaugurated as the 13th president of Alma College.
“We must become an institution for a new century of challenges and opportunities, a dynamic model of the habits and practices upon which a sustainable and compassionate community depends,” said Abernathy in his inaugural address. “We have the opportunity to be the community that we are preparing our graduates to help create when they leave us.”
Jeff Abernathy receives the Presidential Medallian from Saundra Tracy.
• Graduation was a homecoming of sorts for Alma’s 2011 commencement speaker. Bahamian statesman and career diplomat Davidson Hepburn, president of the 35th General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), offered words of wisdom to approximately 300 graduation candidates. Hepburn, who began his professional career in the English faculty at Alma College in the 1960s, also received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree.
• After months of spirited discussion, focus groups and surveys, Alma College faculty, administrators and Board of Trustees endorsed the new Strategic Plan 2012-2017. Adopted in tandem with the Strategic Plan was a campus master plan to provide a direction and set of priorities for the development of the physical campus.
• A new and improved Eddy Music Center opened its doors in January to students, faculty and staff. The $1.8 million renovated facility with larger teaching studios, enhanced instrumental storage space and a 4,200-square-foot addition was funded largely by gifts, including $500,000 from the Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation. A dedication ceremony took place May 6.
The dedication ceremony for the Eddy Music Center addition.
• The renovated Hogan Center was awarded LEED® certification at the Silver level by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). LEED is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. The Hogan Center is the first LEED-certified building in Alma and Gratiot County.
• A first step to more closely link the campus with the Alma downtown district was realized with the opening of College Corner Coffee and Books on the corner of Superior St. and Wright Avenue in July. Alma College purchased the former Kentwood Pharmacy building in March and began immediate renovations. The building houses a café featuring Stucchi’s Ice Cream and the College Bookstore. A grand opening took place Sept. 23.
Scotty celebrates the grand opening of College Corner Coffee and Books.
• Students were introduced to new academic programs in 2011. The Integrated Health Studies Institute offers increased practical experiences and enhanced interaction with health professionals. The New Media Studies major prepares students for work in emerging forms of media digital information and technology. The College’s piping and highland dance programs also were expanded, with the newly formed Alma College Pipe Band performing for the first time at the inauguration ceremony.
The Alma College Pipe Band performs at the inauguration.
• Students achieved at high levels again in 2011. Lisa Biering, Michael Malloy and Chelsea Clark received post-graduate Fulbright Scholarships to teach and study overseas. James Young III won the 2011 Barlow Trophy. The student organization SIFE won its 10th straight regional competition.
• Alma College extended its Model UN winning streak to 15 years. Competing April 17-21 in New York City, Alma College teams representing the countries of Libya and Tuvalu received “outstanding delegation” recognition, the highest award at the conference. Alma College has won 28 “outstanding delegation” awards — the most of any college or university in the 88-year history of the conference.
The Model United Nations team confers at the New York conference.
• Alma College received significant external recognition and support in 2011. For the fourth straight year, the College was admitted to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for engaging its students, faculty and staff in meaningful service. Alma signed a formal agreement with the Washington, D.C.,-based Osgood Center for International Studies to develop a China exchange program and increase learning opportunities for Alma College students. The College also received a six-year $700,000 grant from the State of Michigan that will provide academic, social and financial support to students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
• In December, Alma College students, faculty and staff descended in force on Washington, D.C., to host a national conference on the 500th anniversary of human rights advocacy. Earlier in the year, Alma College became one of the first undergraduate colleges in the United States to belong to the International Criminal Court Student Network (ICCSN), joining Duke University School of Law, the University of Cambridge and other prestigious institutions in a global community that connects students who share an interest in the ICC.
A dance troupe from Taiwan visits Alma College.
• Faculty achieved recognition in multiple ways in 2011. Holly Liu received a Fulbright grant to attend a seminar in Germany. Cameron Reed was invited to join the National Advisory Board for the Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues. Robert Vivian received a book award. Carol Fike coordinated a 10-day visit by a Taiwanese dance company. Murray Gross composed a work that was premiered by the Michigan State University Wind Symphony.
• A 6.5 percent increase in new students and a total headcount of more than 1,400 students for the third straight year highlighted Alma College’s 2011 enrollment. The total headcount of 1,417 students marked the eighth time in Alma College’s 125-year history that the school achieved a total enrollment over 1,400.
The women's soccer team wins the MIAA championship.
• In athletics, Jim Cole announced his retirement as head football coach, the women’s soccer and softball teams advanced to NCAA Division III post-season tournaments, and women’s bowling and men’s wrestling joined men’s and women’s lacrosse as new varsity sports in 2011-12.
Posted: Sat, January 7th, 2012 at 2:16PM