We can make it work.
Carol Churchill realizes these five words make a difference. She’s lived by them her whole life. In fact, she purchased one of the engraved bricks at MMCC and had those very words put on it for inspiration. Her father said them to her often while she was growing up.
MMCC should thank him. Her drive and tenacity to get a job done no matter what it takes is what keeps this college going.
It took four years of lobbying in Lansing and getting the community to write letters of support to make MMCC’s case for expanding the Doan campus a reality. MMCC could have easily given up after being turned down time and time again. Still Churchill wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. She pushed on, knowing the project eventually would be approved. Her hard work paid off. In July MMCC received word that the state approved the $8.8 million that will pay for approximately half of the expansion. Groundbreaking on the new Center for Academics and Business Studies will take place in early March 2013. The building is expected to be ready for Fall 2014 classes. We’re glad she didn’t give up.
Not all of the expansion is being done in Mt. Pleasant. The Harrison campus has experienced growth as well. In the beginning it was the computer systems and heating in the main campus that was breaking down every few days. Today work is being done on a new Radiology laboratory. In between, upgrades have been made to multiple departments. MMCC recently partnered with local manufacturing to start a new Plastics Technology program. Was the first grant received? Nope. Still, grants were written and written again until finally receiving a $700,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. Again MMCC didn’t give up and achieved success.
The last time a millage increase was approved was in 1964. Funding keeps getting cut from the state. Unlike most community colleges, a whopping 72 percent of MMCC’s annual budget comes from tuition. Yes, there have been tuition increases and fees, but a 5 percent increase at MMCC is less than 2 percent at a major university. In addition, enrollment and credit hours are down. Churchill and her team had planned for this and were able to hold off the enrollment decline about a year longer than other colleges. Every time there is a drop in funding of any kind, Churchill doesn’t see less dollars. The first thing she sees are the faces of the faculty and staff it will affect and you can see the anguish on her face.
From the Theatre Department’s inadequate facilities to Student Services having more students to see than they have time for, the MMCC faculty and staff figure out how to get the job done with what they have.
No matter what the obstacle, Churchill faces it head on. She doesn’t know any other way. After all, she knows — we can make it work.
The Laker Current