The big FIVE – O, all grown up! I feel honored to celebrate this milestone because, for the past forty-two years, Colorado Mountain College has been central to my life as a learner and as a teacher. We have proven to our communities, our students, our licensing entities, and ourselves that Colorado Mountain College can be one of the best small colleges in the nation.
CMC gets stronger each time a student grows confident of their scholastic and personal abilities, and then moves on to build a life full of purpose and service to others.
CMC’s wobbly toddler stage is over. In 1975, when Sue Daley, dean of Summit Campus and hired me to teach French, the Breckenridge building had only two classrooms. We taught classes in our homes, in saloons, at real estate offices, and even at a Super 8 Motel.
I’ll never forget Margaret Peterson’s Music Theory class in 1978. We four students gathered in the parlor of her Victorian home in the Old Town part of Breckenridge. That year Summit Campus offered 80 classes in various venues, and our enrollment was a few hundred. Today, our students number more than 3,500. The biggest change is that now we hold courses in smart-classrooms.
What has not changed, and what keeps getting better, are the progressive and inspirational values that were laid out five decades ago: Affordable tuition for all students, comprehensive education that prepares students to enter the workforce, and innovative pedagogy that reaches all learners. We can safely predict that these values will continue to be the source of our greatest strength for the next fifty years.
Today, we are starting from a stronger base than fifty years ago. CMC has become a stable and vital presence in all the communities that we serve. Thanks to the foresight of the founders, who structured a two-year college primarily funded by property taxes, we enjoy beautiful new buildings and campuses at 11 sites. Our students use state-of-the-art equipment to train for their chosen careers.
Our school has talented leaders who watch the big picture and chart a course for the changing future. Increased full-time faculty give our students the individual attention and expert guidance that college students deserve. These landmark achievements are tributes to the hard work and commitment of all who have shaped and supported CMC’s successful programs over the years.
I am confident that CMC will continue to change and at the same time maintain the traditions that have been established in our first five decades. We have transformed ourselves, the places where we live, and the thousands of people who have looked to CMC for knowledge, training, and new horizons.
Thank you, and Congratulations, CMC!