Academic Pathways Series, Indoor Track Named for Former MCC President

John G. Thompson

John G. Thompson

A new Academic Pathways Recruitment Series as well as the three-lane, one-tenth mile track inside the new Muskegon Community College Health and Wellness Center, which opens in January 2019, will be named in honor of Dr. John G. “Jack” Thompson, the MCC president from 1977 until his retirement in 1986. He passed away at age 81 in May 2013.

His widow, Suzi Anstine Norbeck, made the donations to the Foundation for Muskegon Community College in his memory through the Dr. John G. Thompson Fund, which the Thompsons created at MCC to ensure that all segments, classes, races and religions are involved in every aspect of Muskegon Community College.

MCC Board of Trustees Vice Chair Diana Osborn announced the gifts to the college during a donor brunch prior to the MCC Health and Wellness Center Grand Opening ceremony on Nov. 27.

“We are grateful that the legacy of Dr. Thompson lives on at Muskegon Community College,” said MCC President Dale K. Nesbary. “His leadership approach was the primary impetus for many of the allied health programs on campus and the community collaborations existing today.  Generous donors like Suzi Anstine Norbeck allow the college to continue to do great things in the classroom and in the community.  The College and I thank all of our donors and supporters from the bottom of our hearts.”

A life wellness enthusiast, Thompson taught physical fitness at the Muskegon YMCA, formed the Muskegon Hiking Club, was active in the Sierra Club, hiked the Pyrenees Mountains in Spain, biked solo through France’s Normandy region, skied and played tennis.

Born in Sault Saint Marie, MI, he moved as a youngster to Flint with his family before they settled in West Branch, MI, where he graduated from high school and was captain of the football team. Thompson earned a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University, a master’s degree from Wayne State University, and a Ph.D. in Community College Administration from Michigan State University.

As president of MCC, Thompson became a role model for increasing involvement of the college in the life of the community. In retirement, Thompson studied photography and became a professional photographer whose work was displayed in the Muskegon Art Gallery, where he was a member of the camera club and art club. The Thompsons traveled to all seven continents, backpacked and skied throughout Europe.

John G. Thompson Academic Pathways Recruitment Series

John G. Thompson Academic Pathways Recruitment Series will encourage prospective students, especially underrepresented groups, to attend MCC for an education, special learning programs, and events.

Prospective students will be recruited from Muskegon, Ottawa, Newaygo, and Oceana counties. Students will receive assistance in course selection as well as student success supports and activities that are geared toward successful degree and certificate completion, transfer and career success.

As part of a national community college effort to improve the retention and completion rates of their students, MCC implemented the Academic Pathways approach in 2015.  The effort includes mapped academic programs, accelerated developmental education, advising to get students into programs of study early in their college careers, and continuous advising, tracking, feedback, and support.

MCC faculty and staff reviewed every academic program and placed it in one of six Academic Pathways: Arts, Humanities, and Communication; Business and Information Technology; Engineering, Manufacturing, and Industrial Technology; Health Services; Human Services; and Math and Science.

“The rationale for pathways is that prospective and entering students are often undecided about their majors and future careers, but they almost always know the broad areas they like and in which they are interested,” said MCC Provost/Executive Vice President John Selmon.

John G. Thompson Academic Pathways Recruitment Series will focus on one Academic Pathways for one week each month over a six-month span. The Health Pathway Series Week will include a morning or evening session option. Students will be bused in from area high schools. MCC students will play a critical role and serve as ambassadors and guides during each of the pathway events.

A sample of possible activities include an employer discussing position openings, skill sets, and credentials associated within a respective Pathway industry; teaching demos; MCC counselors advising students on appropriate courses; the MCC Transfer and Career Coordinator talking about transferring to four-year colleges and universities; a MCC alumni panel employed in the Pathway field sharing insights about entering and remaining in their jobs; and student-led campus tours.

The John G. Thompson Pathway Recruitment Series will be led by Trynette Lottie-Harps, MCC Dean of Community Outreach, in conjunction with Academic Affairs, Admissions, and Student Life staff. The Pathway Series will begin in March 2019.