April 12, 2013 — Dr. Dustin Swanger
While I feel the true privilege of leading Fulton-Montgomery Community College every day, there is a distinct pleasure in being the President of an institution as it celebrates a milestone. Next year, for FM, that milestone is celebrating its half-century mark, since the College was chartered in the 1963-64 academic year. Fifty-years of planning, teaching, learning, and contributing to our local region is truly a milestone for FM and our entire community.
Planning for the 50th Anniversary began this past Fall with the appointment of a 50th Anniversary Committee of faculty and staff. From the first announcement of the upcoming celebratory year, people all across the campus were excited and willing to participate in the planning process. FM will plan an event for each month during the academic year.
As we consider the 50th Anniversary, it is easy to be taken aback by how far FM has come in its fifty years and how it has changed. From its early beginnings in the City of Johnstown in borrowed facilities, to the opening of its current campus, to the expansion of programming from a few career programs and liberal arts to, at one time, over 75 academic programs offered (currently 45 programs) FM has evolved. Through tough times and boon times, FM has stood strong for its students and community.
Through eight presidents, and other interim presidents, the College has continued to serve the students of our region with high-quality higher education programs. From its first class of approximately 350 students to the current student population of approximately 2,850 students, FM has demonstrated that it meets the needs of students as they pursue a college degree.
FM has hosted a number of dignitaries through its history. Regional, state, and national figures have been on the FM campus to speak with the public, present honors, or discuss controversial topics. In addition to our local representatives at state and federal levels, these dignitaries have included Timothy Leary, Mary Lou Whitney, Jane Fonda, Mohammed Ali, Julian Bond, Lt. Governor Stan Lundine, Lt. Governor Robert Duffy, Governor David Paterson, State Senator Dean Skelos, Senator Charles Schumer, Senator Hillary Clinton, Vice-President Al Gore, and others. Each time I have had the opportunity to tour people through our campus and talk about FM, every individual has left our campus impressed with what FM has to offer. It is truly a small college with big impact.
As we plan for our 50th Anniversary, FM will host such celebrations as an alumni/athletic homecoming weekend, a celebration “kick-off” ceremony, a special Distinguished Alumni Dinner, a Charter Ball and Dinner, and other events that will be open to the campus community and community at-large. We will have a profile of FM through the years that will highlight milestones of each of the five decades that FM has operated.
While each year at FM is rewarding, our 50th year will be special. I hope that you will be able to join us for some of the celebration.
Dr. Swanger is President of FM.