by NATALIE WRIGHT
Washtenaw has big plans to celebrate this milestone year, which will begin in September and last through September 2016.
“Celebrating the anniversary over two years gives us the opportunity to recognize both the year Washtenaw County voted to establish WCC, 1965, and the year the college first held classes, 1966,” said Janet Hawkins, associate director of public affairs.
Hawkins has been planning the year’s celebrations since 2013, she said.
While formal celebrations won’t kick off until the fall, Hawkins hopes to launch a blog in late May, featuring archive photos, interviews with former employees and students, testimonials and a calendar of events for the year.
“I’m really excited about getting reacquainted with some of the retirees, former employees and definitely some former students,” Hawkins said, adding that in the interviews she has done so far, she has been happy to hear how positive interviewees memories are about the college.
“I am excited about welcoming all of these people back to campus to see how we’ve grown and evolved over the years, to hear more of those stories about the campus in the early years and to be the facilitator who is bringing all of this together,” Hawkins said.
There is also some talk of establishing a WCC volunteer corps, Hawkins said, which is really just a way of recognizing the volunteerism already taking place at the college.
The events planned for next year include:
Saturday, Sept. 26
Playing off the concept of Free College Day, which the college has done in the past, this event will open up the entire campus for community members to explore. Faculty and staff will teach free, specially designed courses to community members. Hawkins said she hopes to have a class representing each academic area and building on campus.
The event will also incorporate the annual Cars & Bikes On Campus show, where students and community members show off their rides and compete for prizes.
50th Anniversary Gala
Early February 2016
The gala will take the place of the annual Mardi Gras fundraiser for WCC Foundation scholarships. This event will be more formal than Mardi Gras, Hawkins said, and will “celebrate the past and present, with an eye toward the future.”
Free College Day
Saturday, March 5, 2016
A day of free learning for community members, this event offers the chance to get to know WCC from the students’ perspective. Community members are invited to come to campus and learn from WCC instructors about a variety of topics.
Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016
Fifty years after Washtenaw opened its doors for classes, the college will celebrate homecoming, welcoming back WCC alumni, retirees, former employees and the community at large.
Anyone with ideas for how the college can celebrate its 50th anniversary can email Janet Hawkins at email@example.com.