In his more than 30 years of teaching history at Northern Maine Community College, David Raymond has seen first-hand the close connections students make with the faculty and the community at large as they are working towards career goals.
NEAR ISLE, Maine – In his more than 30 years of teaching history at Northern Maine Community College, David Raymond has seen first-hand the close connections students make with the faculty and the community at large as they are working towards career goals.
But it wasn’t until he delved into the history of the NMCC that Raymond realized just how much community engagement has played in creating and sustaining the college that hundreds of students turn to every year.
“Students have always been a priority. This is why the college has been so successful, ”said Raymond. “I knew the NMCC was always community driven, but writing the story made it clear that it has been so ever since. [the college’s] creation.”
This month, the NMCC released a new book by Raymond, “A Brief History of Northern Maine Community College: 1961-2021,” which chronicles the college’s 60-year history.
Before the closure of Presque Isle Air Force Base in 1961, a group of educational and community leaders had already felt the need for a school capable of training people for manual trades. But the official closure paved the way for the old air base buildings to become the campus of the Northern Maine Vocational Institute.
The story of how this community group – known as the Northern Maine Community Education Commission – started the school that became the NMCC is a story Raymond sees as rooted in the mission-oriented community. college community.
“People came together because they were concerned about the well-being of the city,” Raymond said. “The campus has evolved as different needs were identified in the community. “
Two years after the Maine legislature approved the formation of the NMVI, the campus opened in 1963 with hands-on nursing, carpentry, automotive and electrical programs, which are still part of the curriculum today. ‘hui.
The Northern Maine Vocational Institute only became Maine’s second technical institute. After a year, the school changed its name to the Northern Maine Vocational Technical Institute to reflect the state’s goal of opening more vocational schools.
During its early decades, NMVTI created programs that were considered relevant to the community at the time, including radio and television repair, computers, plumbing and heating, masonry, and accounting. In the 1980s, the demand for more business programs and four-year college preparation programs led to some of the most significant changes for the institution.
“Until the end of the 1980s, vocational technical institutes were under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education. They were somewhere between high school and college, ”Raymond said. “Due to the need to [business and liberal studies] programs, the DOE created the Maine State Vocational Technical Institute System, with its own board of trustees as a university.
These changes led to two other name changes: Northern Maine Technical College in 1990, the year Raymond began teaching, and Northern Maine Community College in 2003. The new college status allowed the NMCC to expand the programs. focused on training the workforce and helping students transfer to four-year universities.
Despite the many changes, Raymond has found one constant thing throughout the 60 years of NMCC: faculty and students have always been involved in the community.
“They were always involved in some type of project, like building an expansion on a senior housing unit, insulating houses for the winter, or raising money to buy Christmas gifts for families,” Raymond said. “The history of community service goes back as far as the institution itself.”
While exploring the NMCC archives last year, Raymond realized how unaware the community as a whole may have been on the story. By writing the book he hoped to give the college a permanent record of its history and another way to educate community members about its heritage.
“I know from speaking with people that the college has a good reputation for, but a lot of people only know the basics of the story,” Raymond said. “I wanted to do for the NMCC what other college and university stories have done: show how we’ve evolved. “
Copies of the book are available from the NMCC Development Office and all proceeds will go to the general scholarship fund of the NMCC Foundation, which awards scholarships to students based on their financial need and academic achievement.
Dottie Martin, Dean of College Development and Relations, praised Raymond’s book for highlighting the roles the NMCC played in shaping the Aroostook workforce.
“It’s important to remember the foundations that others have built and the ones we continue to build,” said Martin.