On Monday, Sept. 18, Glen Oaks Community College will unveil a historical marker that identifies the site of the college’s beginnings 50 years ago. That site was the former White Pigeon High School at 201 S. Lincoln St., White Pigeon. The college will recognize the significance of those days of early beginnings at 10 a.m., at the site of the marker, located beside the White Pigeon Central Elementary School, 305 E. Hotchin Ave.
“Anyone in the community is invited to stop by and see the marker, and we extend a special invitation to those who were students, faculty and staff during those first days of the college,” said David Devier, Glen Oaks president. “Please join us in sharing stories of the early days of the college.”
“According to the publications, the 40 year-old White Pigeon High School was scheduled for demolition,” said Devier, “and that was put on hold as college officials scurried to put together a temporary location to house the Glen Oaks students and start programming,” said Devier. “Offices were set up in the school in June, as newly hired faculty and staff prepared for the upcoming semester.
Records show 729 students were enrolled for the first semester. According to the book “Glen Oaks Community College” by Leland Thornton, former Glen Oaks faculty member. “After three days of taking standardized tests, the students attended classes for the first time on Friday, Sept. 15. On the following Monday, Sept. 18, classes ‘started for real,’ and the residents of White Pigeon found out what it was like to have approximately 500 additional automobiles parked on the streets.
“The college is said to have occupied just about every available space in the town of White Pigeon,” said Devier. “In addition, there were also classes in Coldwater as enrollment had exceeded expectations, and faculty and staff worked to accommodate the students.”
Glen Oaks operated out of the facility during its inaugural year and a half while officials worked on plans and construction of the Shimmel Rd. campus.