Gold Background
Make your New Year’s resolution to complete the college you started

by Dr. David H. Devier
Glen Oaks President

As you hustle through this busy season, take the time to reflect on your future in regard to education and employment. You or someone you know may have unfinished educational goals and there is no time like the present to return to college to fulfill your goals. You may have heard of the special Michigan program entitled, “MI Reconnect.” This program offers free tuition at your in-district community college to earn an associate degree or Pell-eligible skill certificate if you are 25 years of age or older. In addition to the funding from the MI Reconnect program, Pell grants have been increased this year. Finally, there will be one more semester of direct payments to all students from the American Rescue Plan. The bottom line is, there has never been a better time to complete the degree or certificate you started or even begin the one you postponed.

I have written in earlier pieces about the value of post-secondary education to lifelong income and satisfaction. These data are indisputable over many decades. The facts are clear that if you have a college certificate or degree(s), you will earn more over your lifetime and have a more rewarding work life which leads to a more fulfilling personal life.

I realize that you may discount my words as those of an educational leader who is beating his own drum and spinning the value of college to enroll more students. Nothing could be further from the truth. We truly have the future success of all those who we may serve or hope to serve first. My wish as a leader of the institution in our community is to make sure everyone has been informed of the opportunities Glen Oaks offers and that these are within reach. All you need to do is ask and our staff and faculty will be quick to serve you and help make your journey not only a successful one but a joyful one. There are few rewards in life that measure up to the feeling of self-satisfaction that comes with achieving the educational goal you strived to complete.

So please consider how Glen Oaks may serve you or someone in your life to garner the education that will propel you or them to the level of success and satisfaction deserved. We stand ready to discuss your goals and guide you through the process to meet them. Each day, we all come to campus to help one and all add value to their lives through the power of education


Aerial photo of campus
GOCC Board approves bids for capital outlay project in special meeting

The Glen Oaks Community College Board of Trustees approved a capital outlay project which has been in the making for three years.

The board vote was the last step necessary to set the project in motion. Howard Williams, of Miller-Davis Co., the construction management company overseeing the project, attended the meeting via Zoom and shared cost information along with vendors who were selected for the project.

“With the board’s approval, this means that after four years of planning, we can finally get started with the physical work on the project,” said GOCC President Dr. David Devier.

The college’s $7.3 million capital outlay project includes renovation to the north side of campus – more specifically the E. J. Shaheen Library, art studio, classrooms, restrooms, and foyer. Also included is new lighting, updated IT infrastructure, windows, doors, fire alarms, a new electrical instruction lab and new metal siding to encapsulate the current exterior walls of the building.

The board began investigating if capital outlay funding would be an option back in the fall of 2017. Tower Pinkster was engaged as the architect to develop the space in Feb. 2019.  After removing non-instructional facilities (i.e., Nora Hagen Theater and athletic areas), it was finally approved by the state in December 2019; but vetoed by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s office in March 2020 due to the pandemic. In December 2020; however, the increased cost of materials due to the pandemic pushed the overall cost to $2.5 million more than planned, causing the college to remove the tech labs (auto and welding) from the state project and fund them through the campus budget. The state re-approved the project with the changes in May 2021 but once again, bids were slightly higher than planned and adjustments were again made to trim areas of the project. The new plans were approved by the state as part of the 2022 budget in September.

Bidding on the revised project began in mid-October with bids being opened in mid-November. After some final last-minute modifications, the scope of the work and bids are now in line with state budget and today’s vote from the board signifies that work can go forward.

Plans are to begin the project on Jan. 10 and completion is expected by December 2022.

Graphic design panel review
Graphic design students present branding projects to panel of judges

The CTE Advanced Graphic Design students presented their branding projects to a panel of local advisory board judges in mid-December. The project timeline was approximately six weeks for the dual enrollment students to create a fictitious company, logo, marketing, print materials, website homepage and commercial storyboard. The four students had 10 minutes to explain their projects and the judges then scored the work based on concept, presentation and many other components. Instructor Linda Walker guided the students through the Advertising Design course final project.


Photo: Rich Damewood explained his project to the panel in detail. Judges from left were Jennifer Yesh, ISD; Joey Hamilton, Superior Receipt; and Alek Haak-Frost, Watershed Voice.

Leaf Logo
Glen Oaks announces new hires in Student Services

Glen Oaks Community Colleges has welcomed six new staff hires in the Student Services department over the past few months.

Ayla Wilder joins the college as director of housing operations and residential life. Wilder is from the University of Indianapolis where she has served as a residence hall director and the assistant director of residence life over the past seven years. She has experience as a lead Title IX investigator, an instructor for a new student experience course, and she has served as an advisor to a Black Student Union. Experience in these areas will be beneficial to the campus and residence hall. Wilder has a bachelor’s in human communications, a master’s in strategic leadership and design, and a master’s in professional studies in human resources, all from the University of Indianapolis.

Michael Elliott is the new assistant director of residential life. Elliott is a Glen Oaks alumus who also coaches the Viking men’s basketball team. He most recently worked as a high school basketball coach and teacher. Elliott has an associate from Glen Oaks, and a bachelor’s in arts humanities from Indiana University – Purdue University, Indianapolis.

Sara Kohler has joined Glen Oaks as director of admissions. Kohler comes from Mid Michigan College where she worked with the college’s Education Talent Search Program. She also coordinated the Verizon Innovative Learning Program and planned and implemented STEM summer camps. Kohler serves as the current Phi Theta Kappa Region Alumni Association advisor. She has a master’s degree in communications, marketing, and public relations, a bachelor’s degree in technical and professional communications, and an associate degree in liberal studies.

Danielle Easterday has joined Glen Oaks as an admission representative. She is a Glen Oaks alumna with an associate degree in business and a bachelor’s degree from Grand Valley State University in advertising and public relations. She previously worked as an account manager at Workforce Strategies, Inc.

Claudia Pahls has joined the college as a part-time dual enrollment coordinator. Pahls has a master’s in English and secondary education, and a bachelor’s in education from Ball State University. Pahls retired from Sturgis Public Schools after 41 years of services. She taught English and Spanish for many years and helped direct numerous plays and musicals before branching out into career preparation.

Amber Gerth has joined the college as disability and support services advisor. A GOCC alumna, Gerth received both her master’s and bachelor’s in social work from Spring Arbor University, an associate in general studies and an early childhood education associate from Glen Oak. She will provide disability support services to GOCC students. Gerth previously was employed with St. Joseph County Community Health where she worked as a child therapist and adult case manager.

Free Flue Clinic
Covered Bridge Healthcare to offer free flu clinic at Glen Oaks – Wed., Dec. 15

Have you received your seasonal flu vaccine? Representatives from Covered Bridge Healthcare of St. Joseph County will be on hand at Glen Oaks Community College on Wednesday, Dec. 15, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event is open to everyone ages four years of age or older. No appointment is necessary.

Dec. 14 is last date for COVID-19 test and vaccination clinic before holidays; clinics to resume in January

Members of the community have just two more dates before the holiday closure to take advantage of the COVID-19 testing and vaccination clinics at Glen Oaks Community College.

Testing and vaccinations will resume on Tuesday, Jan. 4, for a half a day from 9 a.m. to noon, and then beginning Jan. 11, the clinics will be held each Tuesday between 9 a.m. to11:30 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The weekly clinics, coordinated through a three-way partnership between the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), the Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency and Glen Oaks, are held in the Dresser Business Development Auditorium, near the main campus entrance.

Currently, anyone age 12 and older is able to receive their first and/or second dose of COVID-19 vaccine at this clinic. Anyone age 18 or older can receive a booster dose at this clinic, but they must have completed the 2-dose series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least 6 months ago, or had 1 dose of Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least 2 months ago. No appointment is necessary.

All three vaccines Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson and Johnson will be offered at the clinics. Please note, Pfizer vaccine is the only one approved for use in those 12-18 years old.

Vaccine and Testing Clinics on Tuesdays
New hours for weekly COVID-19 testing and vaccine clinics at Glen Oaks

New hours for the free COVID-19 testing and vaccine clinics at Glen Oaks Community College are:  Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. — through Dec. 14.

The weekly clinics are for students, employees and members of the community. They are coordinated through a three-way partnership between the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), the Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency and Glen Oaks, and are held in the college’s Dresser Business Development Auditorium, near the main campus entrance. No appointment is necessary.

Those meeting the requirements for the Pfizer booster shot may also receive it during the event.

For more detailed information, contact the Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency at: (517) 279-9561 or visit:

Campus celebrates “Transformation X2,” grand reopening of Tech Labs; launch of State Capital Outlay Project

Over 40 participants representing faculty, staff, and donors and members of the community celebrated two campus projects in an event called “Transformation X2,” held in earlier today.

Guests took part in the launch of the E & F Wings capital outlay renovation project, which includes the E. J. Shaheen Learning Commons, Art Studio, and Allied Health and IT Labs. In addition, the complete exterior will be reskinned with a metal insulated panel system.

Following the Capital Outlay Kickoff, guests joined in celebration of the ribbon-cutting and grand reopening of the Auto Lab and the completion of the new Welding Technology Lab –- projects which have been in progress since last spring.

“Both projects were included as part of the original $7.3 million state capital outlay plan  submitted in 2018,” said Dr. David H. Devier, Glen Oaks president. “This project encompassed the entire north side of campus.”

“But  things changed in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Devier. “Not only was the project put on hold by the state, but with the rising cost of building materials, it was expected to go over budget by $2.5 million. This forced us to reduce the scope of work.”

A decision was soon made to remove the Tech building work from the state project; however, it would move ahead with college funding instead.

And the work began in May. The interior was completely renovated into a new Welding Lab., while renovating the Auto Lab. The exterior of the building that houses both labs was completely re-sided with new insulated metal panels by James Ware Construction, of Sturgis. The interior was completely renovated and a new Welding Lab was constructed while renovating the new Auto Lab.

“With the help of generous donors, we were able to purchase and install 20 new welding booths, complete with vacuum systems through $75,000 in donations,” said Devier. “Our Platinum sponsor donors stepped up to the tune of $20,000 and above. They are TH Plastics, Inc., Morgan Olson, and Mike Elliott, a retired St. Joseph County engineer.  Sturgis Bank was our $10,000 Gold sponsor; and our Silver sponsors were Century Bank and Trust and the Paul H. Casault Senior Center Memorial Fund at Sturgis Area Community Foundation.”

All updated electrical work has been carried out by Hi-tech Electric of Kalamazoo. New work bay tool cabinets were purchased for the Auto lab as well as new student lockers and many new storage cabinets. Finally, exciting new graphic images were added to both the welding and automotive areas.

City n Italy
Glen Oaks hosts study abroad trip to Italy in 2022; community is invited to join along

Students at Glen Oaks Community College will travel to Italy for the 2022 Study Abroad tour and those in the community who may be interested in joining along are welcome.

During the 12-day excursion, the group will visit Venice, Florence, Pompeii, Sorrento, Assisi and Rome.

Participants will explore the Roman Colosseum and Ruins of Mount Vesuvius in Pompeii; take a gondola ride on the canals while in Venice, view the famous leaning tower of Pisa; and enjoy a tour of the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican when in Rome.

The trip will be hosted by Michael Northrop, professor of humanities and study abroad director at Glen Oaks. “We are excited to finally see this trip happen It has been put on hold for two years as a result of the pandemic”, said Northrop. “This will be one of our largest study abroad trips in a long time with seven students, and 13 members of the community, so there is still room for a dozen more to join us.”

Trip price ($4,249 for students under 30, in triple occupancy, and $4649 for a double occupancy reservation) includes round-trip airfare, land transport, entry fees, tips, trip insurance for the group, overnight stays in hotels and most breakfasts and dinners. Guests will be responsible for lunch costs.

“The Glen Oaks Study Abroad program began in the 1990’s,” said Northrop. “Since then locations have included Mexico, France, England, Ireland, Scotland, Spain, China, Honduras, Peru and more. Group sizes have ranged from a low of six to an average of 10 to 15 people. Because the cost is challenging for many college students, community members are always invited to participate.”

For more information on the 2022 Italy trip, email Northrop at, or call (269) 294-4277, or visit:


Glen Oaks Foundation Logo
GOCC Foundation accepting scholarship applications for 2022-23

The Glen Oaks Community College Foundation is accepting scholarship applications from new and returning Glen Oaks students for the 2022-23 academic year.

Through efforts of the Foundation, endowed scholarships and charitable cash gifts provide many students with financial assistance to pursue their education helping to change their lives in a positive way.

The Glen Oaks Community College Foundation reported that for the 2021-22 academic year, 46 students received over $45,100 in scholarships.

A link to the GOCC Foundation Scholarship application is on the Glen Oaks website at: Scholarship applications with all required materials must be submitted by 4 p.m., March 1, 2022.

To browse descriptions of the available scholarships, visit the Glen Oaks Community College Foundation Scholarship link at:  Persons wishing to learn more about establishing a scholarship fund or contributing to an existing fund, should contact Vonda Marrow, executive director, Glen Oaks Community College Foundation, by calling (269) 294-4384, or email

Contact the GOCC Financial Aid Office with questions about financial assistance by calling (269) 294-4260. Office hours are 8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday, Thursday and Friday, and 8:15 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.