Aerial view of the Dowagiac campus

SMC graduating record numbers for second year in a row

The Southwestern Michigan College Board of Trustees heard a presentation on the College’s record-setting graduating class, re-appointed Plante & Moran, PLLC to continue as the auditors for the College, accepted gifts and grants, announced the date for its 50th Anniversary Celebration, and conducted other business during its regularly scheduled meeting April 21 on the College’s Dowagiac campus.

For the second year in a row, Southwestern Michigan College will graduate a record number of students at its Commencement Ceremony being held on Saturday, May 3.

The 407 students who will graduate in the Class of 2014 collectively earned 637 degrees or certificates, compared to last year’s record number of 401 graduates earning 563 degrees or certificates.

As a statistical snapshot, most come from Michigan (365) and Indiana (40), though there is one from Minnesota and another from Caracas, Venezuela. Almost three-fourths, or 73 percent, hail from Cass and Berrien counties.

The top originations for SMC graduates this year include: Niles, 89; Dowagiac, 63; Edwardsburg, 33; Cassopolis, 20; Buchanan, 14; South Bend, 11; Marcellus, 10; Decatur, nine; and Three Rivers, Vandalia, Hartford and Granger, eight each.

“Because of Southwestern Michigan College’s reputation for high student success, academic excellence, student friendly campus, safety and total college life experience at an affordable cost, the graduating class includes students from a large number of schools and communities,” stated college president Dr. David Mathews.

Cities represented in the Class of 2014 also include Ann Arbor, Baroda, Benton Harbor, Berrien Center, Berrien Springs, Big Rapids, Bridgman, Bristol, Caledonia, Clarkston, Coloma, Colon, Comstock Park, Constantine, Detroit, Eau Claire, Elkhart, Galien, Goshen, Holland, Jones, Kalamazoo, LaPorte, Lakeside, Lakeville, Lawton, Middlebury, Mishawaka, Morrice, Nappanee, New Buffalo, North Branch, Osceola, Paw Paw, Pelkie, Plainwell, Portage, St. Joseph, Sawyer, Schoolcraft, South Haven, Stevensville, Three Oaks, Troy, Truman, Union, Watervliet, White Pigeon and Wyoming.

SMC graduates this year come from at least a dozen Michigan counties, including Van Buren, Barry, Hillsdale, Kalamazoo, Kent, Lapeer, Oakland, St. Joseph, Shiawassee and Wayne, as well as three in Indiana — Elkhart, LaPorte and St. Joseph.

Another reason SMC draws students from so many areas is the large number of career options available at the college. Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree recipients include: nursing, 31; business, 20; health information technology, 16; graphic design technology, 15; accounting, 15; early childhood education, 13; information technology networking, nine; medical assisting, eight; information technology support, seven; industrial technology, seven; mechatronics technology, six; automotive technology, four; fire science, four; construction trades green technology, four; social work, four; business/office management, three; computer-aided drafting/design, three; business/special events, three; education paraprofessional, three; precision machining technology, two; electrical systems technology, one; information technology/app development, one; paramedic, one; and professional communication/creative writing, one.

Twenty-five graduates earned Associate in Arts (AA) business degrees with transfer options; communications, 33; education, 19; social science, 48; and visual and performing arts, 31.

AA degrees will be conferred for elementary education, three; criminal justice, two; history and social science, one; liberal arts, three; political science, one; and psychology, two.

Associate in Science (AS) degrees will be conferred for: medical pre-professional, 16; science/engineering/math, 12; environmental/life sciences, six; and engineering, one.

Special certificates will be awarded for event planning (one); small business management/entrepreneurship, four; emergency medical technician (EMT), one; and dance education, one.

Certificates include general education (168), automotive technology (one), construction trades green tech (two), fire science (one), information tech help desk (five), mechatronics technology (four), medical assisting/clinical (seven), medical assisting/office (eight), medical billing and coding (one), office assistant/specialist (one), pharmacy technician (four), practical nursing (10), precision machining technology (two); and welding technology (seven).
In addition, 28 students will be awarded Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees from Ferris State University for programs conducted at SMC: accountancy (10); business administration (10); computer information systems (two); computer information technology (three); technical and professional communication (two); and human resource management (one).

Three other students will receive Certificates in Human Resource Management from Ferris State University for the program they completed on the campus of SMC.

In other business, Trustees announced that a 50th Anniversary celebration commemorating the establishment of Southwestern Michigan College will be held on Saturday, Sept. 20 on the Dowagiac Campus. There will be day-long festivities, including live music, tours, academic program demonstrations, alumni reunions and other entertainment for the entire family. The public is invited to join trustees in this college-wide celebration. Please mark your calendars. More details will follow as the date approaches.