Alumni Service Award: Donald Mitchell
Donald C. Mitchell’s family has lived in the St. Joseph/Benton Harbor community since 1870, and they have passed along their commitment to the community from generation to generation. A retired veteran, Donald believes in staying active, and he serves on various community service organizations, including as a member and past president of the Lake Michigan College Alumni Association Board of Directors.
Donald served in the United States Air Force from 1960 to 1964, where he had the opportunity to travel in Japan, and participated in the Cuban Missile Crisis. He says that his military career gave him “the chance to get serious about the realities of life.” When he returned to Michigan, Donald was hired as the first black office employee at Bendix/Allied Signal Corporation, as an industrial engineer. After his retirement from Bendix, he worked for fifteen years as a mortgage originator. He says this position allowed him to lead many first-time homeowners through a challenging process, and, as a Black man, to give them the chance to be encouraged by someone who looks like them across the desk.
While at Bendix, Donald earned his Associate of Science in Business Management from Lake Michigan College. A member of the LMC Alumni Board since 1997, he has been happy to watch the college grow and to see how it opens doors for the minority community. He also currently serves as president of the Benton Harbor Salvation Army, vice president of the Benton Harbor Emergency Shelter, president of the Foundation Board of the Sunrise Rotary Club (Benton Harbor), deacon and trustee at the Fellowship Baptist Mission Church, and a member of Lest We Forget.
An Alumni Service Award was presented to Donald Mitchell in 2015.