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Celebrate SC Founder’s Day on Saturday

October 19, 2020

Three men next to Schoolcraft College sign

Schoolcraft College celebrates a birthday of sorts this Saturday, Oct. 24. It was on that day in 1961 that residents of the Livonia, Plymouth-Canton, Garden City and Clarenceville school districts voted to establish a community college in an effort to create an environment for individuals seeking the opportunity to grow intellectually and strengthen their economic independence. (Northville Public Schools joined the district in 1963.)

This passage from the book “Reaching Out … A History of Schoolcraft College” by Samuel Hudson illustrates that although the wording or terminology may be different now, the original goals of the College remain in place to this day.

One of the board’s first actions was to adopt a resolution stating that the primary purpose of the new college was to make education beyond the high school level available to all students interested in and capable of benefitting from such an educational program. The resolution indicated that the goals of the institution included:

  • Terminal programs for students not going on to four-year college programs;
  • Transfer programs for students who wished to complete four-year programs;
  • A technical institution for the community, serving local needs for vocational and semi-professional education;
  • Opportunities for interested persons to achieve their vocational and cultural needs through evening classes;
  • Cooperation with other departments of the school system, with civic groups, with educational institutions and foundations, and with private individuals and corporations in any proper endeavor likely to result in educational advantage to the community college district.

Originally called Northwest Wayne Community College to reflect the communities that encompassed the college’s district and primary areas of service, the name was changed in February 1963 to Schoolcraft College in honor of Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, a 19th century explorer and scholar who played a part in the early development of Michigan.

Aerial of Schoolcraft College CampusConstruction of the original buildings on the main campus in Livonia began in June 1963. Those buildings were the Administration Building (now the Grote Center), the Forum, the Library (now Bradner Library) and the Service Building.

August 31, 1964, was the first day of classes for the first group of students to attend Schoolcraft College.

View the Schoolcraft College Digital Archive Collection.