1957 : Lansing Board of Education Endorses Establishment of Lansing Community College

April 8, 2023 all-day

On April 8, 1957, the Lansing Board of Education adopted the following resolution: “We, the Lansing Board of Education, resolve to establish a community college and technical institute in the City of Lansing, Michigan ….”

Between 1952 and 1956, spurred by the return of GIs from Korea, college enrollments in the United States increased by more than 37 percent. In Michigan, community college enrollment soared by 150 percent. The time seemed right for Lansing to establish its own community college. Dwight Rich, then Lansing School District superintendent, approached the board of education, who authorized him to hire a special adviser to work on a feasibility study. He hired Michigan State University graduate student Philip J. Gannon, then employed at MSU doing community extension work. His study easily convinced the Lansing Board of Education that a community college should be established, and Gannon’s leadership convinced the board to name him dean of Lansing Community College.

The first class taught at the college was a refresher course in mathematics with 32 students, taught by Ruth Kelly the summer before the school officially started. When the doors to the college, housed in the old Lansing Central High School Building, opened for fall semester 1957, there were 425 students enrolled in mechanical, electrical and civil technologies, apprenticeship programs and licensed practical nursing. Staff collected tuition in a cigar box in those early days, and the library consisted of four window sills’ worth of books in Gannon’s office.

Source : LCC’s Foundation for the Future, Greater Lansing Business Monthly, March 2007

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