Northern Maine Community College kicks off 50th year with homage to 1960s

13 years ago

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The sights, sounds and tastes of the early 1960s were alive on the Northern Maine Community College campus Jan. 12 as the college officially kicked off its 50th anniversary.

Approximately 600 students, faculty, staff and community members were on hand for a ‘60s “sock hop” celebration. The two-hour event, which spanned the lunch hour, included free burger and hot dog baskets, milkshakes, root beer floats and banana splits. Entertainment included disc jockey Bob Collins, NMCC automotive collision repair instructor, spinning rock ‘n roll hits from the era, as well as a number of live performances. Folks also had the chance to take to the dance floor to compete in the twist, the limbo and even a hula hoop contest.

Event planners wanted to kick off the first 50th anniversary event as students returned from the holiday break to set the tone for the coming months. The new semester at NMCC began Jan. 10.

“The whole event was a great time! Not only was it a cool way to start off the spring semester, but it was a nice break in between classes for the day,” said Dustin Graham of Mapleton, a liberal studies senior. “Without worrying about homework, I was able to eat lunch and have fun with retro dances and music, both participating and watching others perform. It’s nice to have events like this to look forward to, breaking up the usual schedule between work and school.”

Graham was the winner of the limbo contest, and a finalist in the hula hoop contest, losing that title to NMCC nursing student Alix Curtain of Presque Isle. Other contest winners included Joyce Tremblay, secretary for the academic dean, for her dance moves doing the twist; Lori Googins, athletic director, best dressed; Tyler Freeman of Caribou, most talented; and 15 members of the NMCC student services staff, spirit award for their outstanding outfits and performance of “Hand Jive.”

“We wanted to start off our anniversary celebration with something fun and light-hearted,” said Betsy Harris, NMCC registrar and chair of the subcommittee that planned the event. “It went off even better than we had hoped. The number of people attending the event and the people opting to perform were both larger than we had anticipated. The feedback we’ve gotten back from across campus and from the community has really been incredible.”

With this successful event behind them, the college will continue planning events to celebrate several milestones in the coming years: the 50th anniversary of the founding of the college in June of this year, marking when Maine Gov. John H. Reed signed a bill into law that established the institution; the 50th anniversary year of the first entering class in August 2013; and the 50th anniversary of the first graduation at NMVTI in May 2015. Major events will be held this fall on the weekend of Sept. 9 when the NMCC Alumni and Friends Organization hosts its second annual Homecoming. A gala 50th anniversary banquet is planned for that time.