Norman Haas was the first chairman of the board at Glen Oaks.

Glen Oaks celebrates 50 years at the Centreville Campus; retirees and alumni share memories at event

About 75 people gathered on the Glen Oaks concourse in early February to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Centreville campus.Glen Oaks President David Devier welcomed the group, which included a number of faculty, staff and students, who were on campus back on February 4, 1969, and came back to share their stories from the early beginnings in the new building.

Norm Haas, first chairman of the Board of Trustees and the only surviving member left from that Board, attended the event along with his extended family, and talked of the enthusiasm of the students and faculty during that exciting time.

Dick Schlimgen, a Glen Oaks counselor when the college opened, spoke at Monday’s event recalling It was a cold, windy February day — the start of the second semester — and employees at the college packed up their materials and hauled them over to the new Centreville facility in a flatbed truck.  – And the library — operated out of boxes on the concourse.

Barb Gray, wife of the late music professor, Robert Gray, presented the college with the original handwritten manuscript of the Glen Oaks Alma Mater, which her husband composed in 1972.

Guests at the celebration looked through old yearbooks, student newspapers, photos, and reminisced about the past.

Alumni Terry Conklin and Chuck Frisbie both gave a heartfelt thanks to those in the audience who had the foresight to see through the creation of a community college in St. Joseph County; and noted the impact the college has had changing the lives of students.

“There’s a lot of kids in this county who couldn’t afford college that have been here and there lives are better because of it. I think that is what this is about — so thank you all.”