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New semester kicks off State Tech’s 50th year

On August 23, a new semester begins at State Technical College of Missouri, and commemorates a significant milestone in the history of the college.  The President’s Ringing of the Bell ceremony on the first day of classes, begins a special year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the college.

State Technical College of Missouri began in 1961 as Linn Technical Junior College.  Founded by Osage County R-II with the leadership of Superintendent Thurman Willett, and supported by a grant to the Osage County R-II School District from the National Defense Education Act of 1958 and strong support from the Missouri Department of Education, the college offered its first program in electronics in the fall of 1961.

Only a couple dozen men were enrolled in the first electronics program held in a basement storage room under the high school band room.  This fall semester the college has students, both men and women, enrolled in over 35 programs in Jefferson City, Mexico and the 250-acre campus in Linn.

The considerable growth of the campus facilities, the increase in academic programs and the rise in student enrollment has garnered State Tech national attention over the years, most recently the attention of the Aspen Institute.   Earlier this year, the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program selected the college as one of the top 120, two-year institutions in the nation.  

Over the last few years State Tech has experienced a record breaking growth in the number of students.   Although actual enrollment numbers won’t be determined until the start of the semester, the enrollment is expected to remain steady.  

Those enrolling at State Tech have a few new programs to choose from this year such as Welding Technology as well as the High Performance and Electric/Hybrid Vehicle options in the Automotive Technology program.

In addition to the new programs, the Physical Therapy Assistant program is expanding to increase access to the program for full-time, place bound students in rural Missouri.  The PTA program is expanding as a part of the Missouri Health Professions Consortium which includes five Missouri community colleges and the School of Health Professions at the University of Missouri-Columbia.  In addition to the Jefferson City location, this fall classes will be offered as a pilot in Trenton at North Central Missouri College and Poplar Bluff at Three Rivers College.

Also this semester, State Tech will implement a drug screening program for all first year students attending classes at the college.  The primary purpose of the program is to provide a safe, healthy and productive environment for everyone learning and working at the college and deterring drug use and abuse among State Tech students.  Students whose initial drug screen is positive will not be excluded from the college, but will have a grace period to rescreen and test negative to remain enrolled.

State Tech begins the new academic year with seven percent less in state appropriations.  “With state appropriations shrinking each year, we must move to a greater dependency on external funding,” said Dr. Donald Claycomb, president of State Tech.

In conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the college the Foundation for State Technical College of Missouri has begun a new giving campaign, Golden Opportunities… Giving that Works.  The primary focus of the campaign is on the building of partnerships with State Tech.

Over the years, State Tech has built an exceptional reputation with business and industry.  The college has been fortunate to have numerous successful and long-lasting partnerships that have had positive impact on students, the workforce of Missouri and the Midwest region.

“Our ability to create and maintain such partnerships is unique in the business and education arena,” said Carla McDaniel, executive director of the Foundation for State Technical College of Missouri.  “We are passionate about our partnerships and believe in win-win relationships.”

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the college, State Tech Board of Regents and State Tech Foundation Board members, will join college faculty and staff on August 31 to honor founder Thurman Willett as well as previous board members, administrators, instructors and students during a founder’s day celebration. 

The celebration will also include the dedication of the State Tech Eagle Monument.  The bronze eagle monument, made possible by the generous contributions of alumni, friends and supporters of the college, is a symbolic landmark honoring the graduates of the college, commemorating the college’s history, and renewing the college’s commitment to the eagle as the official college mascot.

The monument, which resides in the roundabout of the main campus, features an eagle leaving the nest and taking flight.  The eagle statue is a reminder of the many students who have and will continue to graduate from the college and venture into the world for profitable employment and a life of learning.

“It is the reputation of our graduates, what they have done after they graduated and what they did out in the workforce that has made it possible for State Technical College of Missouri to be the higher education institute that it is today,” commented Claycomb.

With more than 35 programs, State Technical College of Missouri is Missouri’s only public two-year technical college with a statewide mission.   STC has campuses in Linn, Mexico and Jefferson City.  STC prepares students for profitable employment and a life of learning.    

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