Advancements continued in the 1980s at Schoolcraft College
BY CASEY SAMYN AND LAUREN LUKENS
CAMPUS LIFE EDITOR AND EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
The 80s was a decade that began with Mount Saint Helens erupting and ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall. At Schoolcraft, the decade began with a new president, Dr. Richard McDowell, in the year 1981. The first major construction project on campus, the addition of a culinary arts building, was also completed in August of 1982. Schoolcraft’s decade ended with advanced electronics and better student opportunities, such as online courses.
“Richard McDowell, Schoolcraft’s third president, was committed to education. As a student and community member, I took notice at the great enhancements he made to the physical facility,” said Michele Kendall, who started classes in 1989 at Schoolcraft, went on to earn a degree at Madonna University and now works at Schoolcraft in Records and Retention as the Archive Specialist. “He improved and expanded the campus to include a Student Service Center which services the students as a one-stop shop.”
The Waterman Student Center, which housed the first-ever culinary arts curriculum in Michigan, allowed the college to triple the enrollment of culinary arts students and provided a cafeteria and dining area for faculty, staff and students, which is now referred to as the Food Services area.
“There was a demo lab, history department and charcuterie area, but it wasn’t like it is now with separate rooms,” said chef Chris Misiak, Certified Executive Chef, Certified Culinary Educator and 1987 graduate of Schoolcraft’s culinary program. “Students kind of wandered through the sections.”
While Schoolcraft continued to advance and more programs became available, tuition remained affordable. Federal minimum wage was $3.10 at the beginning of the decade and tuition was $25.50 a credit hour for residents, $34.50 for non-residents and $51.50 for non-Michiganders.
In the 80s, students attended Schoolcraft for many of the same reasons as Schoolcraft’s first students—location, affordability and flexibility.
“I went for a preliminary class before I took computer classes at Eastern, where I was going. It was much cheaper than going to Eastern for that class,” said Michael McGreevy, who attended Schoolcraft in the early 80s. “I liked my instructors—they were very down to Earth and understood that most of us were working and going to school at the same time, so they didn’t fill our schedules with homework, and they knew their subjects well.”
Adding to the flexibility of Schoolcraft, the college began offering online classes, known as Telecourses, in the 1980s, which allowed more full-time workers and mothers to attend college.
“My first class I attended at Schoolcraft was a Telecourse, better known as a Distance Learning class today,” said Kendall. “This virtual learning environment was perfect for my lifestyle. It provided the flexibility as well as an opportunity to complete my studies having had small children.”
With advancements in leadership and construction, as well as increased enrollment, the 80s at Schoolcraft were years to remember. In 1984, the Livonia Observer said, “Schoolcraft is affordable, close to home and a college for all manner of backgrounds and ambitions.” Developments and overall greatness did not stop in the 80s though; Schoolcraft continued to improve for future decades.