Special to Iredell Free News
Mitchell Community College recently welcomed its alumni to a memorable weekend filled with displays of history, a sharing of kinship and opportunities for networking with live music from the Catalinas.
Reunions were also held for the classes of 1970, 1971, and 1972 celebrating their 50th anniversary.
The year 1972 is the last year that Mitchell served as a private college. In 1973, Mitchell officially became a community college, thus marking an important milestone in the College’s history. As it reads from “A History of Mitchell Community College” by Bill Moose, Mitchell alumni of 1968, the years 1971 – 1972 would “best be summarized as a year of transition” which paved the way for Mitchell to become “a true community college.”
“Our alumni and our students are the heart of what we do at Mitchell,” said Molly Nicholson, executive director for Advancement & College Relations.
Nicholson explained that as a student herself she recognized that no matter the need, there was always someone on Mitchell’s campus to assist.
“Therefore, much of what the community and the public believe about our college is a direct correlation to the actions and good deeds of our alumni. On behalf of the Alumni Association and Alumni Office, we thank you.”
To the backdrop of nostalgic tunes, alumni conversed about memories from their time at Mitchell, others participated in tours of the College’s historical campus, and some engaged in family-fun activities. Alumni guests also enjoyed a meal prepared and served by Mitchell Community College culinary students.
“There is quite a history and a heritage here at Mitchell Community College that you all are very much a part of,” said Dr. Tim Brewer, president of Mitchell Community College as he addressed the crowd of alumni.
Dr. Brewer discussed the College’s current footprint, which serves 9,000 students at present, and Mitchell’s plans for future expansion. He discussed the College’s quick reaction to the global pandemic in switching from an in-person platform to an online model, enabling Mitchell classes to stay open and available to students. The College also maintained mandatory public safety classes on campus during that time.
“We are relevant. We are making our name known. And many of you are a part of that. I want to say – on behalf of our Mitchell Community College Board of Trustees, faculty, staff and most importantly our students – we are grateful to you.”
Paul Cook, a member of the Class of 1984, and vice president of the Mitchell Alumni Association, presented two Distinguished Alumni Awards at the event.
The 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award was retrospectively awarded to Marvin Norman, Mitchell Class of 1987. Norman is serving his 20th year on the Iredell County Board of Commissioners and is the first African American commissioner to be elected to that board. Additionally, he has spent 20 years on the Mitchell Board of Trustees and is actively involved in the community.
The 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award was awarded to Carol Johnson, Mitchell Class of 1972. Johnson is the vice president of Workforce Development and Continuing Education at Mitchell. After completing her undergraduate degree from UNC-Charlotte, Johnson joined Mitchell Community College as a staff member in 1974 and is a product of Mitchell Community College, having spent her entire career of nearly 50 years at the College. During that time, she has held multiple responsibilities for Mitchell, provided leadership and guidance on a variety of boards and committees and has been an active member of community service projects as well as advocated for Mitchell Community College in all that she does.
The evening concluded with alumni guests wandering into Downtown Statesville to explore a Mitchell Community College History Display by the Statesville Historical Collection curated by Dr. Steve Hill, Class of 1974, or to explore shops or restaurants.
“As you leave here today, don’t forget that you are a Mitchell Maverick,” said Nicholson. “Wear your black and burgundy often, display your diploma with pride, always advocate for Mitchell and remember to always consider Mitchell a place that you can call home.”