Important announcement about the NMC BBQ

TRAVERSE CITY — Good morning NMC students,
We have some important news to share with you about one of our college’s oldest traditions. After 65 years and nearly $2 million of projects funded, Northwestern Michigan College and the Oleson Foundation have made the decision that 2020 will be the final year of the NMC BBQ event. Despite the change, the Oleson Foundation remains dedicated to supporting our students and the College will continue the strong community connection established through the event’s proud history.

Throughout the decades, many of you have grown up with the tradition and volunteered your time, in all kinds of weather (including snow, occasionally) to make the BBQ a success. For years, it served as an “open house” where we could invite our neighbors, friends and family to come to our college and see the amazing people, programs and places that make us so proud. Thank you for being part of that! It is because of you that the connection to our community, and the support of our College and students remains strong today.

“We’ve come a long way in 65 years since the Oleson family and the community first joined together to help build our community’s college. We have accomplished much and our college and region have grown and changed considerably over the years,” said Brad Oleson, NMC BBQ committee member. “As we reflect on that success, we feel now is a great opportunity to look toward the future for new ways to support the college as our students’ needs, and our community, continue to grow and change. We celebrate what we have done together and are excited to extend that path into the future to benefit our students, our college and our community for years to come.”

“We are incredibly grateful for the Oleson family’s commitment to Northwestern Michigan College. Our college might not be here today if it wasn’t for their vision and dedication,” said Dr. Nick Nissley, president of NMC. “The Olesons and the BBQ not only rallied support and resources over the years, but allowed us to open our campus to the community to celebrate all that we’ve done together for our students. I am confident we will continue the spirit of the BBQ and Oleson family for many years to come and I look forward to it.”

While the traditional BBQ event will not be returning, the College would like to host a celebration for volunteers, supporters and community members when it is safe to do so in the future.

Since the BBQ first began, there are now a wide variety of ways for the community to learn about, engage with and support the college including through the NMC Foundation, advisory boards, volunteer positions and more.

The Oleson Foundation has pledged to continue their support for the college and its students, just as they have for nearly thirty years. Most recently the Oleson Foundation made a gift of $100,000 to NMC’s new West Hall Innovation Center. Marty Oleson will also continue to serve on the NMC Foundation Board.

The NMC BBQ Committee established an endowed scholarship in 2015 that will provide scholarship support in perpetuity for local students with financial need.

We look forward to developing new ways to strengthen the ties between our community and college to support our students, and look forward to celebrating with you along the way.

Thank you,
Diana Fairbanks


Release date:  July 30, 2020

For more information:

Diana Fairbanks
Executive Director of Public Relations, Marketing and Communication
(231) 392-6082 (m)



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.

Health & Science Building atrium will be a city polling place and bookstore will be closed Aug. 4

The Health & Science Building atrium on NMC’s main campus will be used as a city polling place for Precinct 9 voters again this year, including on Tuesday, August 4. Some parking in the Cedar lot will be set aside for voters at those times.

The NMC Bookstore will be closed that day as well, and will reopen with normal hours Wednesday, August 5.

Please follow the rules in NMC’s Exposure Control Plan while on campus, including wearing a face mask at all times and practicing social distancing at all times by keeping six feet apart.

Payment Due Date for Fall 2020 is July 28

It’s time to secure your fall classes!

Payment for fall classes is due Tuesday, July 28.

Online:, under Student Billing

  • Electronic Check from checking or savings account at no cost
  • Debit card payment at no cost to you
  • Credit card payment: American Express, MasterCard, VISA, or Discover (including JCB, Diners Pay and China Union Network). A 2.75% convenience fee applies to all credit card payments for charges related to academic credit courses
  • Authorize someone else to make a payment
  • Enroll in direct deposit for refunds
  • Enroll in a deferred payment plan
  • Make a housing or aviation deposit under Deposits
  • Go to Financial Aid menu to check your financial aid

In person: If you need to pay in person, please call (231) 995-1035 before July 28 to make an appointment.

By mail: Please note your NMC ID on your check.

NMC Student Financial Services
1701 E. Front Street
Traverse City, MI 49686

Explore payment options:

Questions? (231) 995-1035 or

Helpful tips:

  • Check your NMC email and Self-Service often
  • Respond to any requests for information
  • Drop before 100% Refund Date (on your schedule) if you don’t plan to attend
  • Financial Aid information:

Fall session begins August 22. Register today!

NMC 2020 Drive-thru Celebration

Congratulations to members of the Class of 2020 on on achieving your goal as an NMC graduate! We want to help you celebrate with our 2020 Drive-thru Celebration. (Check your NMC email for a version of this announcement with additional details.)

We invite you to make an appointment to come to campus on July 30 or July 31 between 2 and 7 p.m. for the celebration. You can sign up for a time slot here.

During this time, you will be able to purchase a cap & tassel, pick up a little NMC swag (welcome NMC Alumni!), and take pictures to celebrate your accomplishment. Wear your honors cords, decorate your cap, and wear whatever you’d like to celebrate your graduation.

We will have our Hawk Owl wings on site to create a memorable shot! NMC will have a professional photographer and will provide you one picture for download free of charge.

We ask that all graduates (and those joining you in your celebration) wear a face covering to campus. Social distancing & safety protocols will be practiced (we will be unable to take pictures with personal devices).

The college is still planning an official commencement ceremony and will release official plans in the near future. Please stay tuned for additional information.

Congratulations on your success!

The 2020 Drive-thru Celebration Team

COVID-19 case found at NMC during voluntary quarantine

TRAVERSE CITY — Today NMC learned that a Great Lakes Maritime Academy cadet tested positive for COVID-19 while in self-quarantine in NMC housing ahead of a planned training cruise.

The cadet is one of 10 cadets who began a self-quarantine July 6 in NMC’s East Hall. The cadets took the COVID-19 test on July 10 and received the results today. The cadet who tested positive is asymptomatic and is now in isolation. NMC is working closely with the Grand Traverse County Health Department while it conducts its case investigation and contact tracing to determine potential spread. Because the cadets were already in a voluntary self-quarantine, the GTCHD has not identified any community exposure with this case at this time.

NMC and GLMA have comprehensive safety protocols and procedures, following CDC, MARAD and maritime industry guidelines, to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The cadets were in a voluntary 14-day self-quarantine ahead of a summer training cruise aboard the T/S State of Michigan. The vessel was scheduled to depart NMC’s Great Lakes Campus Harbor Friday, July 23. As part of the self-quarantine, cadets:

  • have their temperatures taken daily
  • each have their own private suite in the dorm with bedroom and bathroom
  • have meals delivered to them
  • have minimal interaction with others while following safety protocols including social distancing and wearing masks in dorm common areas and outside on NMC’s campus
  • are not allowed off of NMC’s campus or to interact with the public during self-quarantine.

NMC is collaborating with the GTCHD to determine potential exposure within the group of 10 cadets. This may include additional testing and may delay the cruise departure date. The GTCHD will advise any cadet found to be in close contact with the COVID-positive cadet to self-quarantine for 14 days. Any one with less contact should self monitor.

“NMC and GLMA have been diligent in designing and implementing safety protocols and procedures in an effort to keep our students and employees safe. Despite these efforts, the virus has made its way to our campus as it continues its rapid spread across our country. We will continue to work to limit the spread,” said Dr. Nick Nissley, NMC president. “Despite the arrival of the virus, I am pleased to see the process work. We designed the self-quarantine system to identify any risk before the cadets boarded the training ship for their cruise and that’s exactly what happened. Now we must remain vigilant against the virus in the future.”

NMC and GLMA, in collaboration with the GTCHD, will continue to monitor the situation and communicate as we get more information on this evolving situation.


Release date: July 15, 2020

For more information:

Diana Fairbanks
Executive Director of Public Relations, Marketing and Communications
(231) 995-1019


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.

Pulped Under Pressure: Virtual Chats July 8, 15 and 22

  • Wednesday, July 8 featuring Reni Gower
  • Wenesday, July 15 featuring Melissa Potter and Reni Gower
  • Wenesday, July 22 featuring Marilyn Propp

10:30–11 a.m.

Join us on Zoom and Facebook Live in the galleries as we have conversations featuring some of the artists from Pulped Under Pressure. Education Curator Jason Dake will be sharing each artist’s work, currently on view, and chat with our artists. Ask your questions in the chat on Zoom or in the comments on Facebook to learn more about the artists.

Learn more about the artists and find Zoom meeting links on the Dennos community programs page.

Great Lakes Maritime Academy cadets to depart on two training cruises with increased safety protocols

TRAVERSE CITY — Cadets at Northwestern Michigan College’s Great Lakes Maritime Academy (GLMA) will soon depart on training cruises with increased safety protocols in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Thursday, July 2, 12 GLMA cadets, and one faculty member will sail onboard the T/S Kennedy on its voyage from a shipyard in Mobile, AL to its homeport at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. These cadets will be joined by cadets and midshipmen from Maine Maritime Academy, California Maritime Academy, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. The ability of the cadets to sail onboard the T/S Kennedy during this evolution was facilitated by the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD.) The vessel’s transit is expected to last 14 to 21 days.

“It will be a great experience, it will go a long way toward meeting our goal of ensuring cadets have the ability to graduate as per their model schedule, and it will be almost no cost to cadets,” said Jerry Achenbach, GLMA superintendent.

Monday, July 6, GLMA’s flagship training vessel, the T/S State of Michigan, is scheduled to depart, from NMC’s Great Lakes Campus harbor, for the first of three training cruises. In phase one of the training cruise, 17 cadets, and one intern from Northwestern Michigan College’s Great Lakes Culinary Institute will be underway for seven to nine days. The ship will not make any non-emergency port calls, and no one will depart or enter the ship to limit the risk of possible exposure to the virus.

All cadets and crew for both ships were required to be quarantined and test negative for COVID-19 before they were allowed to sail.

GLMA and NMC have adopted increased safety protocols to help protect cadets against COVID-19. These measures are based on stringent industry protocols developed by MARAD, and follow the most stringent procedures being employed by the U.S. maritime industry. Safety procedures for cadet training include single occupancy berths, inspections, continuous sanitization, safe distancing and wearing face coverings in accordance with CDC guidelines. Additionally, the Academy worked with the Grand Traverse County Health Department on the quarantine procedures.

These training cruises will help cadets meet program requirements. Earning the required 360 days of sea time during the four-year program was already a challenge due to high Maritime enrollment, few available berths aboard commercial vessels, and academic schedule constraints. Shutdowns due to the coronavirus worsened the situation. GLMA’s training vessel, the T/S State of Michigan, would normally have departed in early May on its annual two-month training cruise. Due to the pandemic, the vessel will not get underway until early July.

In addition to the new cruise options, GLMA added the tugboat Mississippi to its fleet in June. The NMC Board of Trustees approved leasing the vessel in March as an additional way to help cadets meet required sea time.

As the state maritime academy of Michigan, the Great Lakes Maritime Academy at Northwestern Michigan College educates and trains deck and engineering officers for the U.S. Merchant Marine. Graduates earn a bachelor’s degree, and an unlimited tonnage/ horsepower merchant marine license. Read more about the Academy at


Release date: July 2, 2020

For more information:

RADM Jerry Achenbach
Great Lakes Maritime Academy Superintendent
(231) 995-1203


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 Board of Trustees approves balanced budget with no tuition increase for 2020-21

TRAVERSE CITY — During its regular monthly meeting, the Board of Trustees for Northwestern Michigan College voted 7-0 to approve a balanced budget with no tuition increase for the fall 2020 and spring/summer 2021 semesters.

“I am proud that our college is one of the very few in Michigan that has committed to not raising tuition for our students for the new academic year, while delivering a balanced budget,” said board chair Chris Bott. “The community can continue to have great confidence in our college to meet the needs of our learners while remaining fiscally responsible, especially in this challenging and uncertain time.”

“The most important thing we want our students to know is that we remain dedicated to to their success. That means making sure our college continues to be affordable and safe,” said Dr. Nick Nissley, president of Northwestern Michigan College. “Our faculty and staff have done a tremendous amount of work to get us to this point, and we know we will have more to do, but we will reach our goals, together.” 

For 2020-21 NMC’s revenue will be 20 percent from state aid, 27 percent from local property tax, 48 percent from tuition and fees and five percent from other sources.

Northwestern Michigan College general rate tuition categories:


2020-21 Tuition










NMC has the 8th lowest in-district tuition of the state’s 28 community colleges.


Release date: June 30, 2020

For more information:

Diana Fairbanks
Executive Director of Public Relations, Marketing and Communications
(231) 995-1019


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.

Three named Outstanding Alumni

TRAVERSE CITY — Northwestern Michigan College is proud to announce the three 2020 recipients of the college’s Outstanding Alumni Award.

Lorraine BeersLorraine Beers, 1975–1977, Nursing: Crediting NMC as the first major step on a rich and fulfilling educational journey, Lorraine Beers’ career in nursing has led her to work in obstetrics, perinatal outreach, home care, school nursing and infection control/infectious diseases. She credits her beginnings at NMC with setting her on a path which has included travel to the Peruvian Amazon, Hungary, Quebec, and many places in the United States, all while learning how to best use her training.

Having attended several of Michigan’s state universities, Beers cites her most recent degree, a doctorate in nursing practice from University of Michigan-Flint, as one of her proudest achievements. Her dissertation focused on influenza vaccine acceptance among the Grand Traverse region’s homeless population. Beers’ community service has included roles on the Munson Regional Healthcare Foundations Board, the Rotary Charities Board of Directors, and the Rotary World Community Service committee. Beers and her husband Mack are loyal supporters of NMC scholarships and programs. “I couldn’t do what I’m doing without NMC. NMC really helped develop my career,” Beers said.

George ComdenGeorge Comden, 1951–1953: As a member of Northwestern Michigan College’s first graduating class, Comden has been involved in the college since the very first day it opened. Following his time at NMC, Comden became a member of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and was stationed in Germany for two years. He then completed his bachelor’s degree at Central Michigan University and worked in four different Michigan school systems in diverse roles including teacher, bus driver, and assistant superintendent. He then served as an administrative director at Oakland Community College for 22 years.

Comden has organized events for members of the first class and other alumni. He is also a loyal and generous donor to the NMC Library and student scholarships. Most recently, Comden created the Class of 1953 Veterans Memorial Scholarship, an endowed scholarship that supports military veterans who are attending NMC.

David MilarchDavid Milarch, 1971: For more than 25 years, David Milarch’s mission has been to clone the world’s “champion trees.” His Archangel Ancient Tree Archive, based in Copemish, archives the genetics of the world’s most important old-growth trees, with the goal of propagating and reforesting the Earth with these cloned champion trees. Highly regarded in his field, Milarch has received honors recognizing the environmental impact of his work. He is a popular TEDx speaker and a topic expert for National Geographic. Over the past year, media stories about Archangel Ancient Tree Archive’s work cloning some of the largest redwoods on earth were broadcast in 150 countries, reaching audiences of over two billion viewers.

Milarch speaks with pride when sharing about his family’s multi-generational connections to NMC, from his sister as a member of the first nursing class to his son, Jared, who holds two degrees from NMC. Milarch’s relationship with NMC began as a student in 1971, and includes cloning NMC trees and planting a champion ash tree on campus. Milarch continues to impact education through the organization’s Treeschool program currently offered in 75 schools in California and Washington state.

Established in 1988, NMC Outstanding Alumni Award honorees are chosen for their professional achievements and/or leadership in the local or global community. Applications for the 2021 Outstanding Alumni award will be sought in January 2021.


Release Date: June 25, 2020

For more information:

NMC Alumni Relations
(231) 995-1021


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.

Your Fall Course Schedule

The revised Fall 2020 course schedule is now available! This new course schedule reflects changes in course formats for many courses to maintain safety and give students flexibility. Click here for an overview of Fall course formats.

Course exampleIf course formats for your classes have changed, they are reflected in your schedule, available in Self Service, below the title of each course (sample ⇒)

Please also note the special instructions listed below your courses.

Access your Fall 2020 schedule with revised formats here.

Lecture classes are mostly limited to courses and programs that require a face-to-face component (e.g. welding, culinary, science lab courses, etc.,) If you would like assistance or have questions about your Fall schedule, academic plan, or registration, please contact your faculty advisor or the NMC Academic & Career Advising Center:

Schedule an appointment online | (231) 995-1040 |

Currently NMC plans to reopen campus to students for Fall semester, with additional safety protocols and social distancing measures in place. We are making every effort for students to be able to access buildings, services, and technology.

While there are several different formats for course delivery during the fall semester, on campus instruction will move to remote delivery after Thanksgiving through the end of the semester.

For more information and answers to common questions, please visit our Fall 2020 FAQ page »

Cafe Lobdell’s to open June 30

Lobdell's logoCafe Lobdell’s will open on Tuesday, June 30 and be open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 7 to 11 a.m. for the month of July (with social distancing and state safety guidelines in place *).

Enjoy fresh pastries, breakfast baked goods and delicious coffee, tea, espresso beverages and specialty coffee drinks prepared by our very own Great Lakes Culinary Institute (GLCI) students as part of this summer’s Café Operations course. No reservations are needed. Counter service is available along with plenty of seating including tables on our deck.

* Seating capacity will be limited to 50 percent of normal capacity to maintain social distancing, and face coverings are required when guests are not at their tables.

NMC student part of winning international social media campaign

Migrants screenshotJim Bensley, NMC’s Director of International Services and Service Learning, reports that NMC student Conner Rieck was part of a winning international social media campaign. Bensley has been offering the Soliya Connect international virtual exchange opportunity in his World Cultures course every semester for the past four years. This semester, he had two course sections, one with and one without Soliya.

Due to the upheaval caused by the coronavirus, four students in the non-Soliya section had the chance to take part in a unique project-based opportunity to develop a social media campaign. Throughout the five-week program, students met online to speak — face-to-face and live — and collaborate with their global peers on an awareness campaign concerning health or migration. They were exposed to a diversity of views and identities and encouraged to speak openly and honestly, allowing them to practice critical thinking, curiosity, cross-cultural communication, empathy, and teamwork. In completing an infographic on a migration, they also built self-efficacy and a sense of global citizenship and belonging.

Final projects were voted on by Soliya members and the general public in seven countries. NMC student Conner Rieck was a member of the winning team made up of students from Italy, France, Palestine, Turkey, Tunisia, Syria and the U.S.!

Congratulations, Connor!

View the infographic.

Student Success Workshops Wednesdays @ 1 pm

Every Wednesday at 1 p.m., the Student Success Center is offering a Student Success Workshop Series. Workshops are free to any future, current or prospective students.

Schedule of Workshops:


Life shouldn’t feel like a juggling act when taking college classes. Learn simple tips and tools to help you balance your life and school.
June 10, 1 p.m.


Online classes can feel isolating but they don’t have to. Find out how to get the most out of your online class experience.
June 17, 1 p.m.


Unemployment can be tough to navigate, but we’ll give you the inside scoop! Join our Employment Readiness Specialist to talk about moving from unemployment to employment, where the jobs are and how to find them, and how to make your resume stand out.
June 24, 1 p.m.


July 1, 1 p.m.


Feeling stressed? It’s not your fault. It’s what’s going on in your brain! Learn 4 easy-to-use techniques to switch on your brain’s focusing power and turn off the hormones of stress.
July 8, 1 p.m.


Organization increases motivation and reduces procrastination. This is your invitation to join the Get It Done Nation!
July 15, 1 p.m.


July 22, 1 p.m.


July 29, 1 p.m.



Fall course schedule update

NMC’s plan for Fall semester is almost complete. Our schedule of classes will include face-to-face and online formats with an emphasis on safety and flexibility.

The existing Fall 2020 schedule is in the process of being revised to update class formats to prioritize your safety and varied learning needs.

Here are the class formats you can expect:

Lecture icon
Lecture Courses
 occur face-to-face in an on-campus classroom. Instructors use Moodle for the course syllabus and gradebook or other resources to supplement face-to-face instruction. This includes courses required to meet face to face because of accreditation regulations such as dental assisting, police academy, and welding courses.

Online icon
Online Courses
 are entirely online. Students are responsible for logging in to Moodle in order to complete assignments and activities by specific due dates. Online courses may also have proctored testing requirements that require students to complete tests on-campus or online throughout the semester.

Hybrid icon
Hybrid Courses 
blend online, face-to-face, and/or livestream synchronous delivery using a video platform like Zoom. Most course activity is done online in Moodle, but there may be some required face-to-face instructional activities, such as lectures, discussions, labs, or other in-person learning activities.

Livestream icon
Livestream Courses
meet during a regularly scheduled time via a web conferencing tool like Zoom. Moodle is used to distribute materials, submit assignments, grading, and share feedback.

If you are already registered for class(es), some of your class formats will likely be changed but you will remain enrolled in classes.

You will be notified of your specific class format changes the week of June 22 via your NMC email. The full updated course catalog will also be available on June 22. Until then, the existing Fall 2020 schedule remains open for registration.