Success story: Grad helps shrink Michigan talent gap
It’s never too late to finish what you started.
Marilyn Dear, 70, (above) will exemplify that truth Saturday, when she accepts her associate’s degree at NMC’s 2019 commencement ceremony, finishing what she started more than 50 years ago.
“I’m so excited,” said the Traverse City mother of five sons, whose grade point average entitles her to wear the yellow stole of Phi Theta Kappa, the international community college honor society, with her cap and gown. “I’m going to hang this diploma up on the wall and be proud I finished.”
Until Saturday, Dear shared the position of more than 1 million fellow Michigan residents — some college, but no credential to show for it. Helping that group of people attain credentials is key to closing Michigan’s talent gap, says Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. NMC President Tim Nelson agrees.
“It's a big need for the state, and community colleges are in position to help figure out how to meet that need,” he said in a recent interview.
Dear started at Schoolcraft Community College immediately after high school graduation in 1966, but dropped out after two semesters to join a friend on a trip to California. In Denver she met the man who would become her husband, Jerry Dear. A move back to Michigan, marriage, family, a move to Traverse City and work occupied the next four decades, and the 28 credits she’d earned at Schoolcraft sat parked on a shelf.
In 2011 her job was eliminated. Her children were grown. Dear seized her opportunity.
“I thought, ‘let’s go back to school,’ “ she said. Read more »
Cue the pomp and circumstance — NMC’s Class of 2019 will celebrate commencement at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 4 in the Traverse City Central High School gymnasium. The annual Honors Convocation will be held at 4:45 p.m. Friday, May 3 at the Dennos Museum Center.
Let's do the BBQ! (and volunteer too!)
Food and fun, family and neighbors are again on tap from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 19 for NMC's annual picnic under the pines. Buy your tickets online in advance ($6 plus a $1.25 service fee), or for $6 at all Oleson's Food Stores, the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce, the NMC Foundation and many financial institutions. Tickets are $8 on Barbecue Day.
Volunteers are also needed to help put on the Barbecue. Sign up to volunteer here; most shifts are just two or three hours long and every volunteer gets a free commemorative t-shirt!