Welcome to Spring Semester 2022!

Good morning NMC community and welcome to spring semester 2022!

A new year and a new semester always fills me with the sense of possibility that new beginnings bring us! I am excited to be back together working toward our common goals — transforming student lives and enriching our community — even if we’re not physically together right now. Regardless, we are united in our commitment to learning and our shared success. We’ve learned new things about ourselves over the past two years. For instance, I am a ‘people person’ and love the energy I feel from seeing and engaging with our students and employees on campus. But even when I can’t see you as often as I’d like, I have discovered that I can still feel that energy that connects us all as an NMC community. That is what lies at the heart of NMC Next — our new strategic plan that includes a new Mission, Vision, Values and Learner Experience pledge that we drafted together over the past year. That common sense of purpose inspires me everyday I wake up — to serve you and our mission. I can’t wait to share NMC Next with you after the Board of Trustees meets to approve the work later this month. While I am not sure where the pandemic will take us next, I am confident that we will continue to be connected as an NMC community, with a clear purpose, and a plan to help us move forward towards our shared vision of ‘what’s possible’.

Please remember to take care of yourself, your classmates, colleagues, friends, family and neighbors. Know that we are all here to help each other succeed. NMC is a special place and I am so grateful I get to share it with you.

Nick Nissley, Ed.D. | President | Northwestern Michigan College | 231.995.1010

Northwestern Michigan College

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NMC’s January Conference 2022

NMC Colleagues:

As a reminder, Monday, January 10, 2022, is NMC’s January Conference, which will be held virtually this year. You should have also already received a calendar appointment with this same information and link to the Zoom webinar.

Below is a timeline of the morning session, which should be of interest to all NMC faculty and staff, and will include a short break midway through the conference.

9:00 a.m. Program Begins

  • Update from President Nick Nissley
  • New Employee Introductions
  • Strategic Plan Update Break (approximately 9:45-10:00 a.m.)
  • Guest Speaker: Dr. Paolo Guadiano (speaking on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging)

Please use the link below to join the webinar:
https://nmc.zoom.us/j/ 95098551499

Or One tap mobile :

US: +16465588656,,95098551499# or +13017158592,,95098551499#

Or Telephone:

Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):

US: +1 646 558 8656 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 312 626 6799 or +1 669 900 6833 or +1 253 215 8782 or +1 346 248 7799

Webinar ID: 950 9855 1499

International numbers available: https://nmc.zoom. us/u/adZshlRAEa

President’s Office
1701 E. Front Street
Traverse City, MI
Phone: (231) 995-1010

Call for 2022 Fellows Nominations

The NMC Board of Trustees Fellows Selection Committee is seeking nominations for the 2022 Northwestern Michigan College “Fellow” award. The Fellow is NMC’s highest honor and the following criteria are taken into consideration during the selection process.

  1. Demonstrated influential networking on behalf of the College — Exercising helpful influence among their resource networks in public life, academe or business and industry with those who can positively affect the mission of the College.
  2. Financial contribution — Demonstration of pattern of outstanding contributions over time to NMC.
  3. Time devoted in the interest of NMC — Exemplifying dedicated and loyal volunteer service over a period of years.
  4. Retirees — In addition to service deemed extraordinary during their active careers as members of the faculty and staff, retirees who continue to contribute to their academic or professional fields and provide exemplary service back to NMC as volunteers, mentors or advisors shall be considered.

Exceptional contributions in one or more of these areas may justify nomination. No staff, faculty, or trustee shall be named a Fellow while still employed or in office. A list of previously selected Fellows is attached for your reference.

Please see the attached nomination form to nominate a worthy candidate. Nominations may be submitted to the President’s Office and via email to nmcpresident@nmc.edu by Wednesday, December 1, 2021.

President’s Office
1701 E. Front Street
Traverse City, MI
Phone: (231) 995-1010

President Nissley: Giving Thanks

Dear NMC Students, Faculty and Staff:

I hope you are having a successful fall semester! As we head into November, I am looking forward to spending time with friends and family over a meal this Thanksgiving. To make sure we can all share in this important tradition, I am asking for your help. 

Recently, instructor Kristy McDonald invited me to a business communications class to see their experiential learning project in action. These students are improving their professional communication skills, while serving the community, by organizing a project to provide 125 Thanksgiving meals to NMC students and local families who need a little extra help this year. 

They believe everyone should get to experience Thanksgiving, and with our help, we can help make this come true. They are asking us – the NMC family – to join in the efforts. You can donate as an individual, or join together with your classmates or co-workers to share in the spirit of gratitude! The class is asking us to help them collect:

  • Mini Marshmallows (125 bags)
  • Cranberry Sauce (125 cans)

Red collection bins will be located on main campus at the Innovation Center, Osterlin Student Success Center and at Parsons-Stulen on the Aeropark Campus.

There are other ways you can help too! The class is looking to make an even greater impact by also raising money. All of the funds raised will go towards the 125 meals. Any additional funds raised will support the NMC Food pantry or be used towards next year’s project. Every donation will be matched up to $5,000! And you might even win a trip to the Great Wolf Lodge by donating. To give go to nmc.edu/give and follow these simple steps.  

  1. Select the amount to give.
  2. Designate gift to “other.”
  3. Manually enter “Food For Thought Thanksgiving Project.”
  4. All contributors will receive a receipt.
  5. Email the receipt to Cam Walker walke299@mail.nmc.edu to be entered to win a two-night stay at Great Wolf Lodge.

Having experienced homelessness and food insecurity in my life, I know first hand what a difference your donation can make for a family in need. I admire these students’ desire to help others this Thanksgiving. Please join me in supporting this effort. For more information, or if you have any questions, please email Mahli Braak at braakm@mail.nmc.edu

Thank you for your help. Together we can ensure all Hawk Owls have a memorable Thanksgiving!

Nick Nissley, President

Nick Nissley, Ed.D. | President | Northwestern Michigan College

Northwestern Michigan College

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President Nissley: Our commitment to student and cadet safety

Good afternoon Northwestern Michigan College family,

Over the past three weeks, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Maritime Administration, and the entire U.S. maritime industry has been addressing the issue of sexual assault and sexual harassment onboard U.S. merchant vessels. This work has been necessitated by the report of a serious sexual assault of a midshipman enrolled at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. Due to the seriousness of this incident, I feel it’s important to address this issue with you. First, I want you to know we stand with the survivors of sexual assault and harassment and condemn the actions reported in this incident. Second, I want to share how Northwestern Michigan College and our Great Lakes Maritime Academy have been working to improve the safety of our cadets.

Safety, onshore and while underway has always been a top priority for the College and the Academy. The initiatives and best practices we have developed and adopted over the past decade, in an effort to make certain the cadet experience is positive and free of harassment, include the following:

  • The Office of Student Life provides in-person Title IX/Campus SaVE Act training to all cadets prior to their first classes. This training is again provided to all cadets at the end of second semester, subsequent to sailing onboard the Training Ship State of Michigan.
  • All cadets complete Social Responsibility training, as approved by the U.S. Coast Guard during their first year at the Academy.
  • Every cadet meets with the GLMA Superintendent individually prior to sailing on a commercial vessel. The superintendent provides an avenue for safe reporting, including his and the Dean of Students contact information if there are any incidents. There is also an option to report anonymously.
  • Great Lakes Maritime Academy Sea Project Syllabi have been amended to include contact information for reporting inappropriate behavior.
  • NMC now administers a survey at the end of every sea project to allow students to anonymously describe their experience.
  • The Academy staff has adopted the practice of reaching out to each cadet who is sailing onboard a commercial vessel via text message, to ensure their safety.

We are also committed to continuous improvement. After listening to alumni of the maritime program, during the last year we’ve convened a cross campus team to:

  • Further collaborate with GLMA, NMC Student Life, and the staffs of the other state maritime academies to share best practices in order to prevent harassment and assault onboard training ships
  • Continue to find ways to assist cadets to adequately prepare for their sea projects, and ensure their safety.

In early November, the GLMA Board of Visitors will hold its annual meeting. The topic of ensuring a safe experience for cadets will be a primary agenda item. Among the initiatives we will begin, that Board of Visitors members have committed to assisting with, include:

  • Vetting ships that carry GLMA cadets using a system developed by the federal government for use by the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, and
  • Visiting vessels while cadets are onboard.

These actions are important and critical to the success of the College, the Academy, and the cadets. I want to personally assure you that we take these concerns seriously at every level of the organization. I have been particularly impressed with the commitment of the entire faculty and staff of Northwestern Michigan College’s Great Lakes Maritime Academy, and their dedication to addressing this issue. We are committed to our cadet’s safety and we are continuously working to improve our learning environment. It is critically important to me that all of our students feel safe while enrolled at the College, preparing to serve the nation as officers in the U.S. Merchant Marine.

We are not alone in this important work. Attached you will find a letter from the Consortium of State Maritime Academies which was sent last night to Acting Maritime Administrator Lucinda Lessley. This letter states that this recent incident, “is not a single academy incident, nor is it a single shipping company incident, nor a single shipping union incident,” and that as one of the nation’s six state maritime academies we are “deeply committed to working with the entire maritime industry to actively address sexual harassment and assault.” I am confident together we can make positive change.

Thank you,

Nick

Nick Nissley, Ed.D. | President | Northwestern Michigan College

Northwestern Michigan College

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Release date: October 15, 2021

For more information:

Diana Fairbanks
Associate Vice President of Public Relations, Marketing and Communications
dfairbanks@nmc.edu
(231) 995-1019

NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY NOTICE

Northwestern Michigan College is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, disability, genetic information, height, weight, marital status or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions. nmc.edu/non-discrimination

NMC’s Vice President for Strategic Initiatives

Dear NMC family,

Jason Slade

Jason Slade

It is my pleasure to announce Jason Slade as the college’s inaugural Vice President for Strategic Initiatives starting November 29, 2021. I am excited for what this new role will offer our college and community and believe Jason’s unique strengths and experiences will position us all for great success!

To find the best candidate, we partnered with search firm Spelman Johnson to undertake a nationwide search that resulted in more than 90 applicants. The search process was thorough and inclusive. I appreciate all of you who contributed by serving on the search team or attending the candidate forums. I can now say with confidence that the college is poised to build upon our strong past and develop new ways to meet the evolving needs of our diverse stakeholder groups. The new VP’s primary focus areas will include:

  • strategic plan implementation
  • innovation management
  • revenue generation 
  • business partnerships.

As many of you have shared with me, and the vast majority of comments from the candidate forum indicate, Jason has a well respected history of demonstrated success as a collaborator, innovator and servant leader. His mission-driven optimism fuels his inspiration, while his organized engineer mindset keeps him grounded to see the work through to success. Jason joined the college as a faculty member in 2014 after working in both private industry and higher education downstate. He has continued to grow here, leading the robust Technical Division for the last two years. Now Jason will work closely with Marguerite Cotto as she prepares for retirement after serving the college for 40 years. They will also work together to plan for future leadership of the Technical Division.

While many of you know Jason from his time at NMC, through the recent interview process it became clear to us Jason has much more to offer our college and community. He exceeded our expectations at every turn. I am excited to re-introduce Jason to our NMC community in his new role and know his success will be our shared success, and ultimately our learners’ success. Please join me in congratulating and welcoming Jason Slade as NMC’s Vice President for Strategic Initiatives. Congratulations Jason!

Nick

Nick Nissley, Ed.D. | President | Northwestern Michigan College

Northwestern Michigan College

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Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Candidate Forums

Good afternoon NMC community,

We are excited to welcome three finalists for the new Vice President of Strategic Initiatives to campus next week and hope you will take the time to meet them during a series of candidate forums.

Since the spring we’ve been looking at ways to reimagine the Lifelong and Professional Learning area of the college when Marguerite Cotto announced she would retire at the end of 2021. To advance this work, and the strategic plan we are co-creating, we launched a nationwide search for a new Vice-President of Strategic Initiatives in September. You can read more about the position in NMC Now and watch my video to welcome candidates to our college and this exciting opportunity.

Now thanks to the work of search firm Spelman Johnson and our NMC search team, we have narrowed down a competitive pool of more than 90 candidates to the top three to bring to campus and meet our community.

When: 2-3 p.m. on October 4, 5, and 6, 2021 (one candidate per day)
Where: Milliken Auditorium and livestreamed via Zoom (same link for each day)

Please watch your email for more information on these upcoming forums and opportunities to provide input. If you have any questions, please contact the President’s Office. I hope to see you there!

Nick

Nick Nissley, Ed.D. | President | Northwestern Michigan College

Northwestern Michigan College

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Update: NMC Strategic Planning Feedback Session

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our comprehensive strategic planning process during the last six months. It has produced robust discussions, engagement and opportunities for input. Based on this participation, we’ve added some additional sessions along the way to give the strategic planning steering committee and work team adequate time to co-create these important draft mission, vision, values, and strategy statements.

As a result, we will move the all employee feedback session originally scheduled for October 6 to later in the month. We will share more details soon and look forward to advancing this work together.

If you have any questions, feedback or ideas, please email strategic-planning@nmc.edu. You can also find more information and updates at nmc.edu/strategic-planning.

President’s Office
1701 E. Front Street
Traverse City, MI
Phone: (231) 995-1010

August 2021 Conference Recording

The recording of the college update portion of the conference held on August 23, 2021, is available for viewing here. As a reminder, the Values Workshop segment of the morning was not recorded. Thank you to everyone who attended and participated in both portions of the morning. Please contact our office with any questions or concerns.

We hope your semester is off to a great start!

President’s Office
1701 E. Front Street
Traverse City, MI
Phone: (231) 995-1010

Message from the President: Martin Luther King Day Announcement

Dear NMC Community,

I am pleased to share that one of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) related opportunities for students and employees coming in the 2021-2022 academic year will be a celebration of Martin Luther King (MLK) Day. Programming and activities will begin on Monday, January 17, 2022, (which is also the first full week of spring semester.). A team of faculty and staff is working to organize this celebration and provide many opportunities, including classroom/curriculum ideas, programming/events, music, and volunteer opportunities for students and employees both on campus and in the community.

The goal of this celebration is to provide students and employees an opportunity to learn more about the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and through service, embody the values he so embraced and upheld for the just treatment of all people from all walks of life. This holiday is an opportunity to educate and explore ways to value, embrace, and celebrate diversity, equity, and inclusion in real and tangible ways. Programming and events from MLK Day will lead into February’s Black History Month.

Please watch for more information coming this fall on how MLK Day activities can be infused through the classroom, through volunteerism, and in programming/events during the months of January and February.

More information will follow soon. We look forward to this special opportunity!

Nick

Nick Nissley, Ed.D. | President | Northwestern Michigan College

Northwestern Michigan College

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Message from the President: Guiding Principles for the Future of Work at NMC

Dear NMC family,

For more than a year now one of the most common questions I’ve heard is, “when are we going to return to normal?” With more of us getting vaccinated, and restrictions loosening, soon we will have more freedom in how we interact with each other and our students. But to be honest, I don’t think we should automatically return to how things used to be. While the pandemic has been challenging, it has also been liberating and, in some ways, even inspiring to see what we have all been capable of doing! Why would we want to limit ourselves to return to how we used to do things?

As I first mentioned in our spring town hall, I’ve asked Diana Fairbanks and Mark Liebling to lead a “Reimagining Work” team to explore this issue when it comes to how we do our work at the college. They, with input from President’s Council and a cross-campus team of co-workers, have drafted the attached “Guiding Principles” document that sets out a high level vision for the future of work at NMC. Our college has a history of leading innovative change, and this could be another great example of that tradition. To continue being honest with you, while it sounds exciting, it’s also a little scary for me, and likely some of you. Personally, I actually like a little structure and predictability, but I also know this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to assess and reset our work culture for the benefit of our employees and ultimately our students. That is simply too important to pass up. Our learners will be entering, or in some cases re-entering, work environments that are also changing and we need to model agility and innovation for them. 

So what happens next? We expect the state will soon ease restrictions, as vaccination rates increase. As that happens, and COVID-19 cases fall in our region, we will also begin to ease restrictions on our campuses. That will likely take place this summer and we will continue to communicate these changes with you. But while everyone will be allowed to return to campus with fewer restrictions, there will not be a mandate to do so. Please collaborate with your teams and vice-presidents to assess what is best for you, your co-workers, students, donors and other stakeholder groups impacted by your work. We have a wonderfully diverse set of programs and departments at our college and there will not be a “one size fits all” approach to this opportunity. It’s also important to embrace this through our well established spirit of innovation and thoughtful risk-taking. As with our “PDCA” (Plan; Do; Check; Adjust) model, we will continually review the decisions we make in the near term against our values and desired outcomes, to adapt and refine our approach.

By June 11, the “Reimagining Work” team will share some tools to help you and your teams assess your area’s needs, and guidelines on how to develop a draft flexible work plan. Then over the summer, the “Reimagining Work” team will gather more input and address potential challenges and opportunities to help you be successful. We will continue to communicate with you on this important initiative throughout the process. Diana, Mark, the HR Team, and your vice presidents are resources to help you work through these decisions with direction from the attached “Guiding Principles” document.

This is an incredible opportunity that will take work, but has the potential to have an enormous, positive impact on our community. I know for some of you it may feel uncomfortable to not have all of the answers, and I understand, but ultimately, it’s more important to get it right than to rush resolution. During this time, communication and patience will be critical. Please continue to be kind and considerate of each other, our students and other stakeholders. If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions for the “Reimagining Work” team please email Mark and Diana. And as always, I am here for you and look forward to doing this important work with you.

Nick

Nick Nissley, Ed.D. | President | Northwestern Michigan College

Northwestern Michigan College

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Message from the President: Letting go of the need to know

Dear NMC family,

I hope you have had a chance to catch your breath after a busy semester. Personally, I am still floating from this weekend’s commencement and seeing the joy on our students’ faces! Now as we  look ahead to what’s next, I’d like to share with you a column I wrote in this month’s Traverse City Business News. It’s worth a read and reflection, I believe, as it speaks to the reshaping of our understanding of our roles as leaders and co-workers in a time of rapid change, specifically ‘letting go of our need to know’ and the expectation that we will have all of the answers.

The pandemic has driven this point home to me, and you too, I am sure. The pandemic has also heightened my awareness around the need for us to encourage each other to be more values-driven versus rules-bound. I believe that the pandemic has forced us to accept that we just don’t have all the answers. But, what I am more sure of, now – is that we must embrace the spirit of our mission, continue to be values-driven, and trust in the courageous creativity of our NMC faculty and staff.

Thank you for all you do,
Nick

Nick Nissley, Ed.D. | President | Northwestern Michigan College

Northwestern Michigan College

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Message from the President: Congratulations and thank you!

Dear NMC family,

During this busy time of year, I hope you can take a moment to reflect on the incredible work you’ve accomplished this semester in the face of historic challenges. When I think about this past year, I think about how I feel when running a race. At the start, the adrenaline gives us a boost, we know it will be difficult, but we are determined. As the miles, or in this case months, click by, our energy starts to fade, the doubt creeps in and the finish line feels too far. We may even think about quitting. But with each race I’ve done, I find that there is a point, maybe ¾ of the way through, that I realize how far I’ve come and it’s really not too much further to go. My body and brain start to shift perspective, and even though I am tired, I want to finish more than I want to quit. It’s often about that point that I turn off that voice in my head and start to hear the cheers from the spectators and see the nods from my fellow runners. Their support gives me even more of a boost. I may be running my own race, but I am not doing it alone.

This is where we are now as a college community. We are each overcoming our own challenges running this race, but we’re also doing it together. We are here to cheer each other on, help each other succeed and acknowledge the incredible hard work it takes to complete this race. We are almost at the end and I know we will get there! Thank you for all of the work you have done this semester, at our college and in your personal lives. I know it has been a lot and I am so incredibly proud of you. Let me remind everyone, that vaccination is the fastest way to return to fewer restrictions. I know, we’re all looking forward to a fall semester with fewer restrictions. So, please get vaccinated, if you haven’t already.

To our graduates, I offer you heartfelt congratulations and look forward to our commencement ceremony together this weekend. I am confident that you will continue to achieve your goals no matter where life takes you, because that’s the spirit you’ve already shown while you were here at NMC. Remember, you are part of our NMC family for life.

Stay safe and I hope you can take some time to enjoy our beautiful northern Michigan summer.

Nick

Nick Nissley, Ed.D. | President | Northwestern Michigan College

Northwestern Michigan College

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Be What’s Possible Campaign Gift Announcement

Dear NMC Community,

I am thrilled to announce that Richard and Diana Milock have just made a gift of $3 million to NMC. This gift will support the college’s Audio Technology Program, Great Lakes Culinary Institute, and Dennos Museum Center through a combination of current and planned gifts.

This gift is the culmination of many years of the NMC Foundation and many of you across our campuses working with the Milocks to understand how their philanthropic goals best align with college priorities. Thank you for all that you have done to build trust and confidence in NMC to make this gift possible.

This is the largest single gift from a living donor in the college’s history. Richard and Diana Milock have now given more than $5.3 million to the NMC Foundation as part of the current Be What’s Possible campaign, making them the lead donors in this effort.

With this gift, Richard and Diana join you in supporting student success as well as the sustainability of the Dennos Museum Center, a treasured cultural asset. This gift makes much possible for the entire community as it:

  • Commits a planned gift to create an endowed fund to support the greatest needs of the Dennos Museum Center with $1.5 million;
  • Commits a planned gift to create an endowed fund to support students at the Great Lakes Culinary Institute through scholarships and the greatest needs of the program with $1 million;
  • Supports the current needs of the Audio Technology Program and the Dennos Museum Center, including key equipment updates to the Milliken Auditorium and support for the Audio Tech program to encourage student success with $500,000.

Your dedication to student success and the arts have inspired the Milocks to support the Dennos Museum Center and NMC’s Great Lakes Culinary Institute for nearly two decades. 

The relationships that you build every day at NMC not only help our students succeed, but also inspire others to trust NMC to make a difference with their philanthropic gifts. 

Thank you,
Nick

Nick Nissley, Ed.D. | President | Northwestern Michigan College

Northwestern Michigan College

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Strategic Planning: NMC needs your help

Dear NMC family,

I am pleased to announce that NMC is kicking off its strategic planning process, and I invite you to take an active role in helping us chart the course for the College’s future. As we embark on our eighth decade as an institution, our ability to take thoughtful risks and remain agile and innovative in a fast-paced environment is more essential than ever.

The Strategic Planning Steering Committee has been charged with coordinating an inclusive approach to engaging all of the College’s primary stakeholders as we clarify who we are, what we want to become, and how we can achieve our desired future state. As co-chairs for the Steering Committee, Vicki Cook and Stephen Siciliano will lead a transparent and open process, culminating in a future-focused plan that will refocus our energies and resources for the next three calendar years as we leverage our past successes to meet the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. (more…)

Message from the President: Thank You to Marguerite Cotto

Dear NMC community,

One of the points of pride for our college is how many of you have dedicated decades of your careers here to serve our learners. That expertise and historical knowledge have been invaluable to me as I work to learn more about how we can best meet the needs of all of our stakeholders. But with that longevity, we will eventually begin to see some transitions and must take time to recognize and honor those individuals who have helped create the college we know and love today.

It is my privilege to thank Marguerite Cotto for her nearly four decades of service to Northwestern Michigan College as she prepares to retire at the end of 2021. It is incredibly rare to demonstrate such service to one organization these days, but we can all agree how rare she is in many ways. (more…)

Message from the President: Thank You NMC Community

Dear NMC community,

One year ago, today, we made the difficult decision to close our physical campus as a new virus began quickly spreading around the world. Since then, we have lived through an incredible period of transformation, and I want to take a moment and say just one thing. Thank you.

Thank you — for all that you’ve done to work together, to compassionately help each other and our community. Thank you for creatively helping us navigate through a period of uncertainty and isolation, to where we can now see the light of hope growing brighter every day. (more…)