15Dec Marion Technical College Marks 50 Years of Serving Students by Wendy Weichenthal (Marion) Fifty years ago, Marion Technical College’s charter was signed. Since that first class of 187 students, more than 50,000 have walked through the doors to find new skills, a certification, a degree or a career. “Marion Tech is proud to help generations of students achieve their dreams,” said Dr. Ryan McCall, president of Marion Tech. “We look forward to helping students over the next 50 years.” Dr. Ryan McCall, President From four programs held in Morrill Hall to more than 60 degrees, certificates, majors and programs, Marion Tech and the Marion Campus have changed over the decades. Marion Tech alumni are proudly serving our community and our state. You will find them in local hospitals and doctor’s offices. They include the medical assistants who greet you to the nurses who treat you to those taking x-rays, performing ultrasounds and analyzing results in the medical lab. Physical and occupational therapy assistants are helping patients from children to seniors get on their feet. Students learn how to do an ultrasound (pre-COVID). In addition, engineering tech graduates are working at local factories to keep robots and lines moving. Graduates are running local businesses. Information technology professionals are providing lines of defense against cyberattacks. Alumna Crystal Harstine works in a lab (pre-COVID). Marion Tech alumni are serving as social workers helping those fighting addiction as well as law enforcement officers. Many have continued in their educations to serve to a variety of careers through associate of art and science degrees with transfer pathways. Some are now professors at Marion Tech. The world has changed in many ways since 1970. Marion Tech has changed along with it, finding new ways to use technology to help graduates master new fields and stay competitive. Through recessions, the tech revolution, wars, and now a pandemic, the heart of Marion Tech remains the same: to help our students succeed. Dr. J. Richard Bryson, left, and others break ground for Bryson Hall. Bryson Hall The college continues to expand its offerings today, recently opening a satellite location in downtown Marion known as Marion Tech Downtown. This new location is the new home of Marion Tech’s Workforce solutions, MarionMade!, Aspire and the criminal justice program, among others. The new Marion Tech Downtown location. Marion Tech remains an affordable local option. Thousands of local students have earned millions in college credit at no cost through the College Credit Plus program and the Graduate Pathways to Success programs. The Open Educational Resources provide quality resources with no textbook costs for dozens of classes. At just $190 a credit hour, Marion Tech offers one of the lowest tuition prices in the state. Students can earn credits guaranteed to transfer to any state college or university for less than half of the price of a main campus. Graduates outside the Marion Palace Theatre (pre-COVID). With 90% of students receiving financial aid and a growing number of scholarships, including an innovative Get to Next Scholarship in which students who succeed the first year get the second year for free, Marion Tech remains affordable and accessible. Before the pandemic, Marion Tech offered a number of classes and five degrees all online. From high school students to working parents to grandparents, Marion Tech offers flexible, convenient options to fit any schedule. Many students also appreciate the small class sizes and hands-on learning from professors with real world experience. From the new Smart Manufacturing Program being created from a National Science Foundation Grant to the anatomy and physiology lab in which students as well as local surgeons can learn and practice on cadavers to a mobile training lab that can go right to area businesses to train employees right in the parking lot, Marion Tech develops new programs that meet the demands of students and employees. “It is exciting to look back and see where Marion Tech has been and to also wonder where the future will take us,” McCall said. While the pandemic has interrupted many planned celebrations, Marion Tech is planning a big tent event this June to bring alumni and retirees together safely outside. For more, or to support student scholarships, go to mtc.edu.