By DUSTIN SWANGER
For The Recorder
As we welcome the incoming class this fall, we recognize that it is Fulton-Montgomery Comm-unity College's 50th incoming class. That's right; FM is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. For five decades, FM has been a part of the fabric of the Fulton and Montgomery counties region.
As the year progresses, we will have several events celebrating this milestone for the college including a Founders' Day gala ball in March. It is truly a year for remembering our past and rejuvenating our commitment to the future.
FM has evolved over the years with curriculum to meet the needs of employers and to prepare students to be productive citizens. Whether students studied leather making, global positioning, data processing, secretarial science, general studies, nursing, computer networking, or nanotechnology, our faculty and staff throughout our history have worked hard to ensure that students received the highest quality education with current equipment, theories and practices.
Our facilities have evolved during the past 50 years as well. From our beginnings in "borrowed" buildings in Johnstown, to our campus on State Highway 67, to the additional facilities built in the 1990s (theater, TV studio, art wing, etc.), to the Riverfront Center in Amsterdam, to student housing and Raiders Cove, the college has changed to meet the needs of students and our region. If you haven't seen our facilities lately, you would be surprised and pleased with our college campus.
So as we start this 50th year, I consider, "What would this region be like without FM?" Think about it. What would we have done without all of the nurses that have taken care of our residents throughout the decades? Where would the 52,107 people who have taken classes at FM have attended college? Would they have been able to attend college at all? Would those 15,863 people who have earned degrees from FM been able to complete a college education?
There are other contributions that FM makes to the region as well. FM has hosted artists from across the country and around the world to display their artwork in our gallery. FM has brought many speakers to the region to address issues in order to speak to our students and members of our community. FM has been a hub of activity for our community and we strive to increase that community activity for the future.
FM has employed hundreds of people in the past 50 years. Many of those people have advanced degrees and moved to the region to work at the college. Those folks have been involved in our community serving on committees, volunteering in the community, leading their churches, and some running for elected office. Where would our community be without the participation of FM employees in the community?
Lastly, FM has worked hard to help the community evolve and develop throughout its history. Where would our community be if FM was not at the table along with economic development officials, business leaders, health care professionals, elected officials, the chambers of commerce, etc.?
FM has been a pillar of our community for the past 50 years and will continue to help our region advance long into the future.
DUSTIN SWANGER is president of Fulton-Montgomery Community College.