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Recognition of alumni to mark CLC's 75th anniversary

On Saturday, 75 Central Lakes College outstanding alumni will be recognized at a reception celebrating the 75th anniversary of the college. These alumni are representative of the ever expanding number of CLC graduates who are pursuing their goals, dreams and careers across the state and nation.

Central Lakes College opened its doors as Brainerd State Junior College in September 1938. The college was created by the District 181 School Board to provide opportunities for students who were interested in pursuing the first two years of a baccalaureate degree in their home community.

The college began operations on the third floor of Washington High School. In 1957, the college moved to the basement and first floor of Lincoln Elementary School. The college remained a part of the district until 1964 when it became part of the Minnesota State Junior College system. In that year, the college moved to a new building at its present location in southwest Brainerd.

The District 181 Board again demonstrated its commitment to the citizens of the area when it created the Brainerd Area Technical Institute in 1963. The institute (later Brainerd Technical College) provided post-secondary training in a number of career and technical occupations. The Brainerd Technical College later merged with the Staples Technical College that began operations at the Staples High School in 1950 to form the Brainerd-Staples Technical College.

In 1995, the state two-year colleges and universities became one system through action by the Minnesota state Legislature. As a result, Brainerd Community College (BCC) merged with the Brainerd-Staples Technical College to form Central Lakes College. The merger created a comprehensive community and technical college with an expanded mission of preparing students for academic transfer and career and technical careers and actively engaging in regional and statewide economic development initiatives.

The college has grown from an inaugural class of 23 students in 1938 to a college that now serves over 6,000 students annually. Last year, students from 84 of the 87 counties of Minnesota, 35 states and the Virgin Islands, and 10 countries were enrolled at the college. In addition, high school sophomores, juniors and seniors from 30 regional high schools enrolled in college courses through the College-in-the Schools and Bridges Career Academies and Workplace Connections programs.

The success of the college is the result of the dedication of its faculty and staff who have worked tirelessly through the years to see that the students enrolling at the college receive the best possible education and training. A number of skilled administrators have created the vision and advocated for the college to acquire the resources necessary to support the mission of the college. Community and legislative support has been critical to the overall success of the college. The Brainerd campus facility is one of the best in the state.

Graduates have entered the world of work upon graduation as farmers, technicians, business entrepreneurs and health care professionals. Others have continued their education to become engineers, managers, teachers and professors, entertainers, clergy and members of the medical and legal professions.

CLC alumni have served as legislators, county commissioners, mayors and city council members. You will find many alumni doing their part as volunteers in the community in which they live using skills they acquired through college service learning projects and participation in student organizations.

The college looks forward to the future and to expanding its role in preparing students to be productive and engaged citizens who make a positive difference using the skills they learned as students at Central Lakes College.