Dear Campus Community,

It is with a heavy heart that I write to you today to share news of the passing of an NMC legend, Mr. James J. Beckett. He was 97.

I was never able to meet personally with Mr. Beckett, known as Jim to most of you, but I have come to know and appreciate his tremendous service to the college and our community, as I’m sure many of you have.

His impact reaches far and wide here, and as I listen to stories of Jim, there are three traits that consistently stand out–service, leadership, and joy.

I’d like to share a bit about how Jim, a World War II veteran who spent his career with Michigan Bell, helped shape NMC into what it is today.

Jim became an NMC Trustee in 1962 and served in that role for 34 years. Chairing countless committees and getting many new projects off the ground from a physical education space in the 1960s to the University Center in the 1990s. Most recently, Jim served on the Campaign Steering Committee to launch our current campaign, Be What’s Possible.

Jim was certainly a possibilitarian. Through his cheerful determination, NMC was able to overcome many challenges during its formative years. In addition to his extraordinary volunteer leadership, Jim had a boundless enthusiasm for students and a passionate devotion to grow the college to meet their potential.

More than 20 years ago, Jim became a Fellow of NMC, the highest honor the college bestows. His nomination summarizes his deep involvement with the college nicely:

“No volunteer in NMC’s history has given of time and dedication as generously as Jim Beckett. In addition to his long standing service on our Board of Trustees, Jim has been heavily involved with developing and maintaining the NMC Foundation, the Barbecue Board, and many capital and millage campaigns. His service to the college is unparalleled.”

Perhaps even more astounding is that Jim’s service was not limited to the college alone. He served our entire community as a Rotary member (for 68 years), Chamber of Commerce president, coordinator for Gladhander, and in countless other ways.

Jim and his late wife Dorothy also found joy in supporting NMC students through the creation of an endowed scholarship and by giving generously to the college every year.

The memory of Jim Beckett will continue on NMC’s campus through his scholarship, the Beckett Building (named in honor of his service), and the ways that he has inspired so many of us to bring a sense of joy to our service at this great institution.

Thank you for joining me to honor Jim,

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

Northwestern Michigan College

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