Muskegon Community College’s Downtown Center will be known as the Carolyn I. and Peter Sturrus Technology Center after the local couple donated a record $1.5 million gift to the College to name the facility. The announcement was made at the MCC Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 20.
“I am doing this for the love of Muskegon and the love of Muskegon Community College,” explained Peter Sturrus, who was the longtime president of Shape Corp. in Grand Haven, MI, and once took classes at MCC while beginning his career as a tool-and-die maker. His classes transferred to Aquinas College, where he received his business degree.
“The main reason I did this was to honor my wife, Carolyn Iversen Sturrus,” he continued. “She served as Assistant to the President of MCC for over 30 years, beginning right out of high school.”
Carolyn began working at MCC, then known as Muskegon Junior College, in 1951. During her career, she assisted seven different MCC directors/presidents – Allen Umbreit, William Dwyer, James Snyder, Ralph Austermiller, Charles Greene, Robert Keeson (interim) and John Thompson – before her retirement in 1986.
Acknowledging Carolyn’s indefatigable commitment to the college, Peter Sturrus noted that she was instrumental in establishing the MCC Alumni Association, Reflections magazine, and the Foundation for Muskegon Community College. She retained an active role well into retirement.
The Sturrus’ donation represents the largest – by more than a million dollars – individual gift to MCC.
“It is extremely gratifying that Peter and Carolyn I. Sturrus believed in Muskegon Community College enough to support the institution at this level,” said MCC President Dale K. Nesbary. “It will transform the way we serve our students, build our community, and improve the lives of those close to the College. I want to offer particular thanks to MCC Foundation Chair and MCC Board Vice Chair Diana Osborn for her stewardship of the donor process and her longtime personal relationship with the Sturrus family.”
MCC Board of Trustees Chair Donald K. Crandall, MD, reiterated the collective gratitude felt by the community and the region.
“The generous gift from Peter and Carolyn Sturrus will allow Muskegon Community College to complete our new Downtown Center and provide state-of-the-art training to create the future high tech employees of the region, to stimulate business growth in Western Michigan, and to contribute to the rebuilding of Downtown Muskegon.”
Situated in Muskegon’s historic downtown, the $14.2 million Center houses MCC’s Applied Technology programs in CAD/CNC, Electronics/Automation, Welding, Machining, Materials Testing, Foundry, Engineering, and Alternative Energy. The 85,000 sq. ft. Center also contains the Rooks |Sarnicola Entrepreneur Institute, with its Ann and Richard Kraft Rapid Prototype Center, Lakeshore Fab Lab, MCC Bookstore, and Best Financial Credit Union. MCC’s Experiential Learning classroom is located within the Center, too.
The Center opened in the Fall 2017 semester for some of its academic offerings, but will be fully operational for the start of the Winter 2018 semester in January.
Public and private financial support of the MCC facility has been exceptional, according to Amy Swope, the director of the Foundation for Muskegon Community College.
“Thanks to the voters in Muskegon County, Federal and state funds, and donations from organizations and individuals, we’ve raised almost $2.3 million for this project,” she said. “We are putting that money to good use by providing state-of-the-art facilities, equipment, and programming.”