Alumni Plaza the center of the Dowagiac campus


Emily Schrock

Alumni Relations and Development Coordinator Emily Schrock, ’16

SMC Day Growing Rapidly

Published on April 27, 2023 - 2 p.m.

Southwestern Michigan College’s second annual “SMC Day” April 18 reconnected with alumni who shared their green-and-gold memories and pride.

Alumni Relations and Development Coordinator Emily Schrock said, “SMC Day is a time where our alumni, donors, community and friends of the college can celebrate SMC, including all the accomplishments throughout the academic year.”

Schrock promoted SMC Day with social media posts on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. On Facebook, for example, she posted testimonials from two-time NJCAA cross country national champion Tom Ellspermann (’76) and Residence Hall Manager Kyra DeLoach (’17), student clubs, the volleyball team, the School of Arts and Sciences’ art gallery and choral ensembles, the MCCAA wrestling champions, the bass-fishing team, HIT (Health Information Technology) students and President Dr. Joe Odenwald’s video message.

“Celebration days like this have become more common at larger universities in recent years, but not as many two-year schools have started them. We have just scratched the surface with this,” she said. “We plan to continue to grow SMC Day and to involve more departments and campus groups.”

Galien Township Fire Chief Ted Chase (’95) penned a testimonial to the “huge impact” SMC had on his life, from meeting his wife, Kari, “in a speech class I didn’t want to take” to furthering his love for music playing with the bands and earning his bachelor’s degree from Ferris State University without ever leaving campus.

“Two beautiful daughters and a looming 23rd anniversary later,” Chase wrote, “I’d say things worked out pretty well. Choosing SMC also allowed me to join the fire department since I didn’t have to leave home for school. Twenty-nine years later I am still serving the community as the fire chief. SMC was a great choice for me and I am proud to be a Roadrunner. In a way, every day is SMC Day for me! Thanks!”

Chase’s laptop displayed an SMC sticker. This year, alumni received SMC Day stickers as an interactive element and were urged to snap a photo to show how they were deployed.

“One of the main goals of SMC Day is to reconnect with our alumni, and to have them tell the stories of their journeys that started here and what they celebrate about SMC,” Schrock said. “It’s not always about education, but friendships they made.”

“For only our second year, I think SMC Day was extremely successful,” Schrock said. “It grew like crazy, with more engagements and more awareness about what it is. People emailed us stories. Departments helped me gather content, and we did pretty well with donations, too.”

Schrock herself returned to SMC in July 2021. She earned an associate degree in business from SMC in 2016 and added her bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in digital marketing in 2018 from Ferris State’s SMC program.