PORT HURON — St. Clair County Community College – Michigan’s second oldest community college – is celebrating its 95th birthday today. SC4, which was founded as Port Huron Junior College on June 11, 1923, has contributed to southeast Michigan’s academic, economic and social advancement for nearly a century.
From 16 classes and 34 students in its inaugural year to more than 500 classes serving more than 4,000 students annually today, the college is intrinsically tied to its community and historically has been driven by its commitment to student and community growth and success.
In efforts to better serve students, the college acquired the North Building in 1963 and celebrated the openings of the Clara E. Mackenzie Library-Science Building and A.J. Theisen Building in the 1960s, the College Center and Fine Arts Buildings in the 1970s, and Applied Technology Center in the early 1980s.
Since then, the college has become a centerpiece of the communities it serves. It continues to reshape the downtown Port Huron landscape and provide its students with greater options thanks to initiatives such as the Blue Water Middle College, the Fieldhouse, its new student residence hall and the Health Sciences – AJT Building Renovation.
Much of this growth is due to the support of area residents and community partners.
“We are our community’s college,” said SC4 President Dr. Deborah Snyder. “We are only able to help students thrive and succeed thanks to the support of our community, and we have been fortunate to have its advocacy and commitment throughout our institution’s history.”
Its long-established partnerships with community and business organizations like RESA and the Community Foundation of St. Clair County have allowed the college – and its alumni – to enrich the quality of life in the Blue Water Area and beyond.
SC4 alumni are in every corner of our region — living, leading and serving our communities in health care, education, engineering, manufacturing, hospitality, government, public safety, design, retail and more. More than 75 percent of SC4 graduates work and remain in the region.
Rebekah Smith, former chief executive officer of Lake Huron Medical Center (formerly Mercy Hospital) and Crain’s Detroit Business’ Most Influential 100 Women in 2016, earned her associate’s degree in nursing at SC4 and returned to the area in 1980 to work as an intensive care nurse at Mercy, where she spent her entire career, spanning nearly 40 years.
“The benefits of SC4 to the community are multidimensional,” she said. “Not only does it provide an incredible education that prepares the students for either a career path or a more advanced degree, but it brings people to our community, which is beneficial from an economic position, and hopefully encourages students to remain here and make the Blue Water Area their home.”
In the last academic year alone, SC4 has brought to campus more than 40,000 community residents of all ages at athletic games, concerts, exhibits and more. Looking forward, the college recently was awarded an NJCAA championship, which will bring in more than $750,000 to the community over three years, beginning in 2020.
For nearly 100 years, SC4 has made a significant impact on the region, and it continues to be a key destination where students can achieve their educational goals, and community members can broaden skills and interests.
SC4 will join more than 70 other nonprofit organizations on Tuesday, June 12, in The Big Give, the Community Foundation of St. Clair County’s 24-hour donation rally. Those interested in making a gift can help celebrate SC4’s birthday by supporting new theater seats, outdoor art around campus, and athletic scoreboards for college baseball and softball teams.
Additionally, on Aug. 7, 2018, St. Clair County voters will consider two St. Clair County Community College millage resolutions — a renewal resolution and a supplemental resolution — to help maintain and improve college infrastructure and facilities. More information about the resolutions is available at sc4.edu/millage.