23Jun Marion Tech Celebrates 50 Years of Changing Lives by Wendy Weichenthal For 50 years, Marion Technical College has opened doors to local students looking for affordable, hands-on training, certificates, and degrees. To celebrate, alumni, students, supporters and community members came to the Marion Campus for the Big Tent Event on June 12. “Marion Technical College has a proud history. It is wonderful to celebrate our success and to mark the start a new chapter,” said Dr. Ryan McCall, president of Marion Tech. At the festivities, the new mascots were unveiled. The Marion Tech Leaders are a pair of huskies. “Marion Tech alumni are leaders in many fields. We thought the husky mascots represent the way Marion Tech alumni lead the pack!” Dr. McCall shared. While faculty, staff, students and alumni clamored to pose with the new mascots, that was just one part of the fun. Alumni posed for pictures on the front steps of the Marion Campus Library Classroom Building and picked up new swag including T-shirts with the new Marion Tech Leaders brand. Alumni from the 1970s on up shared stories and memories and walked around the campus which has grown tremendously over the decade. While the first Marion Tech classes were held in Morrill Hall, the Technical Education Center (now Bryson Hall) opened in 1976. The campus now has many buildings including the Health Technical Education Center and the recently updated Alber Student Center. The changes to the Marion Campus are chronicled in a book on Marion Tech’s first 50 years. Copies were given away and also available for purchase at the event. Alumni Bre Napper and Josh Dunn join Dr. Elizabeth Azhikannickal, right, to give tours of the mobile lab. Engineering faculty and alumni also provided tours of the Mobile Manufacturing Lab which brings training right to the front door of local businesses to conveniently train employees. The new Downtown Marion Tech classrooms also bring educational opportunities to more students in new way. Children enjoyed face painting, inflatables, pony rides and a petting zoo. People of all ages enjoyed fishing in the campus pond with area naturalist James Anderson with the Marion County Parks Department. At the Big Tent Event, a live band provided music and food trucks offered delicious treats. Many people enjoyed a walk down memory lane as alumni, retirees, board members and students talked together. Whether alumni graduated a few weeks ago or decades ago, their love for Marion Tech and the opportunities it offered were plain to see. “It was awesome to see so many people enjoying the live band, the many activities and food trucks set up around the campus grounds. Most importantly, it was the perfect opportunity to reconnect with Marion Tech alumni, retirees and community friends,” said Mike Stuckey, director of the Marion Tech Foundation. “Our 50th celebration will continue with the next big event to take place at Downtown’s Third Thursday in August.” State Representative Tracy Richardson presented a resolution marking Marion Tech’s impact over five decades. More than 50,000 students have left Marion Tech to make their marks in nursing, health care, business, social work, industry, engineering and more. These MarionMade! graduates often return for new certifications and updated skills. Marion Tech works hard to respond to the needs of local employers and workers. From Marion Tech’s first program, nursing, to its newest programs, surgical technology and smart manufacturing, one thing is clear: Marion Tech will lead the way and provide an affordable, personal, local pathway to help students and graduates get to next. To stay up-to-date on the latest Marion Technical College news, make sure you are signed up for the monthly Marion Tech newsletter for both alumni and community members.