In 1987, West Shore Community College celebrated its 20th anniversary with the first Founders Day Banquet. That same evening, the Mentors Society was born with the public recognition of eleven individuals for their leadership in the founding and development of the college. This event is held every five years; this year marks the 55th Anniversary of the college.
“It is an honor to celebrate those that have gone above and beyond to serve the community in the name of West Shore Community College.,” said President Ward. “Each of our inductees have demonstrated the kind of commitment that has helped move the college a step closer to fulfilling its mission to our students and community.” Forty-one individuals have been added to the Mentors Society since its inception. On Thursday evening, the college inducted five more distinguished individuals.
- Mike Ennis – Member of the Board of Trustees from July of 1998 through December of 2018, currently serves on the Foundation Board, former business owner, business leader, and philanthropist of Manistee County;
- James Jensen – Member of the Board of Trustees from July of 2001 through December of 2020, business leader, philanthropist, and historian of Mason County;
- Raymond Plank (posthumously) – Served in the United States Navy, former business leader and former owner of WKLA-FM, instrumental in the founding of the College, and a philanthropist formerly of Mason County;
- Carolyn Schnepel – Currently serves on the Foundation Board, first Director and founding member of the College’s Women’s Resource Center, educator & counselor, and philanthropist of Mason County; and
- Bruce Smith – member of the Board of Trustees from July of 2003 through June of 2021, former member of the Foundation Board, former Principal and Superintendent of Mason County Central Schools, and philanthropist of Mason County.
As part of the college’s 50th anniversary and Founders Day banquet in 2017, the college created an award called the Cornerstone Society. While the Mentors Society honors individuals, the Cornerstone Society honors businesses, organizations, and foundations that have provided financial resources and other support to move the college forward. The past Cornerstone inductees are the Paine Family Foundation, the Delta Foundation and West Shore Bank.
On Thursday, Hardman Construction was added to this notable group. Hardman Construction funded an endowment for the Mathematics and Sciences Academy, as well as an endowment to support high school students. Hardman Construction employees have served on the Foundation Board, have been individual donors, and were an integral part of the Foundation’s “Good to Great” capital campaign. “Hardman Construction has assisted the college in fulfilling its mission to make the community a better place to live, learn, work, and prosper,” WSCC President Scott Ward noted. “I also recognize and thank Hardman Construction for their extensive impact throughout Michigan and the academic world. They are positively influencing the entire state.”
Those who have been previously inducted into the Mentors Society are Dr. William Anderson, Roger Baerwolf, Leonard Bestrom, Barry Bourdo, Richard Bourgault, Larry Bradford, Robert Bradley, John R. Bulger, Arnold Carlson, Dennis Cawthorne, Donald Clingan, Oliver DeJonge, Bruce Draper, Dr. John Eaton, Ellen Elder, Leonard Gavigan, Maurice Goodreau, Dorothy Hall, Morgan Hall, Jack Ham, Dr. Robert Harrison, Dr. Charles Keil, Fred Killen, Dr. Kang Lee, Bayard Lyon, Beth McCarthy, Helen McCarthy, Martha Paine, William Paine, A. Ivan Pelter, Daryl Peterson, E. Dean Raven, Budde Reed, Sadie Riffle, Joan Schoenherr, Lee Schoenherr, Richard Seemuth, Kenneth Stephens, Ruth Stephens, Dr. Dale Sutton, Leo Teholiz, Tom VanBuren, and Ron Wood.
Photo: Left to right, Todd Schrader, James Jensen, Carolyn Schnepel, Bruce Smith, Sandra Plank (Raymond’s daughter)