SMC enrollment up 8%

Southwestern Michigan College Board of Trustees reviewed fall enrollment numbers at its Sept. 13 meeting.

The 1,989 students represent 147 more than last fall, an 8-percent increase, with a 9.1-percent increase in contact hours.

In his President’s Report, Dr. Joe Odenwald noted the initial engagement of the incoming class. “In 2019, 800 students attended Welcome Week events,” Odenwald said. “In 2021, 1,324; 2022, 1,746; and 2023, 2,100, which is more than we have enrolled because that’s all the events added up.

The Roadrunners are off to a great start. SMC’s men’s and women’s cross country teams rank 11th in the country. The bass anglers are 23rd in the nation. Women’s volleyball beat Glen Oaks in Centreville Tuesday night to improve its record to 10-3.

Trustees awarded three service pins, to Registrar Steve Carlson of South Bend for five years, Automotive Technology Professor Kyle Schrock of Goshen for five years and  Health Information Management Services Professor Julie Zabriskie of Dowagiac for 10 years.

Provost Dr. David Fleming said Carlson “is blessed with conferral of all degrees, maintenance of our academic policies and registration systems, safekeeping of student records and, for the last three years, supervising the testing centers.”

SMC is Carlson’s fifth stop in a 33-year higher education career, including 20 in career services and 13 as a registrar. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Grove City College and a master’s degree from Slippery Rock University, both in Pennsylvania.

He and his wife of 32 years have two adult children.

Schrock “was plucked from the RV industry in 2018,” Fleming said, where he was employed by Dayco and UPS. He completed his automotive and diesel certificate through the Universal Technical Institute in 1998. Married to Kelly since 2000, he has two daughters, a junior at Ball State and a senior at Northridge High School in Middlebury.

“Julie Zabriskie has been the director of Health Information Technology (HIT) for 10 years,” Fleming said. “Her bachelor’s is in health information management and her master’s is in health informatics, both from the University of Cincinnati.

“Today is Julie’s 50th anniversary of basic training with the Women’s Air Force. She’s been stationed from Turkey and the Netherlands to South Dakota. Her whole family has been dedicated to serving this country, including her sons and daughter-in-law.”

She volunteers with the Niles senior center, helping clients manage medical patient portals.

Trustees accepted five donations to the college totaling $13,550. The board also acknowledged 11 gifts for $24,975 to the SMC Foundation.


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