Outside view of Napier Avenue Campus

History of Lake Michigan College

Lake Michigan College Time Line

Retro Lake Michigan Collelge


  • On September 9, 1946, The Junior College of Benton Harbor opened with eight faculty members and 61 students. Dr. Clarence G. Beckwith was the Dean. Classes were held in the evening at Benton Harbor High School


  • Classes were extended to an old Quonset hut provided by The War Assets Administration. Students nicknamed the structure “Old Maimed". 


  • The college relocated to the 1860's Central School on Pipestone Ave. in Benton Harbor.
  • The Tribesman, was published as the college's first yearbook. 


  • On May 4, the Junior College of Benton Harbor was renamed to Benton Harbor Community College and Technical Institute (CCTI) by the Benton Harbor Board of Education. 
  • The title of Chief Administrator was changed from Dean, and Dr. Clarence Beckwith became the college's first President.


  • The Whirlpool Foundation Technical Institute was established to increase technical training in the community.


  • The Central School location was condemned by the State Fire Marshall and construction began for a new location.  


  • The new campus on 715 East Britain Avenue was opened with a cost of $260,000.


  • Dr. Robert E. Lahti was named the second president of the Benton Harbor Community College and Technical Institute (CCTI). 


  • Berrien County voters approved the concept of a county-wide community college.
  • The Whirlpool Foundation Institute completed construction of its modern technical building and language labs and renamed it the Louis Cassius Upton Memorial Technical Center.


  • On July 1 the college became an independent institution.
  • CCTI was renamed Lake Michigan College and expanded to serve the county-wide district. 


  • President Lahti resigned to the Board of Trustees on Sept 27, to be enacted by Oct 9.
  • A three-man Administrative Committee comprised of Clarence H. Schauer, Jerry G. Solloway and Henry H. Brown began directing college operations.
  • Land was purchased for a new facility.


  • Dr. Robert H. Plummer became the third president of Lake Michigan College.


  • Dr. James L. Lehman became the fourth president of Lake Michigan College.
  • Chicago architectural firm Harry Weese & Associates, was hired to plan a new $8 million campus on Napier Avenue in Benton Harbor. 

1968 -1969

  • Phase I of construction was completed with classrooms, faculty offices, the library, a bookstore, and a Student Union.


  • Phase II of construction was completed including two large lecture halls, a planetarium, a health education center and additional faculty offices. 


  • A faculty strike was held on March 6.


  • The third and final construction phase was completed, including laboratories and occupational training sites


  • WLMC, a student-run radio station, began broadcasting in every building on campus.



  • A dedication of the new Napier Avenue Campus was held on October 2.
  • LMC received $218,366 from the federally funded Basic Education Opportunity Grant program. It was the largest grant in history up to that point and was expected to benefit 300 students. 


  • Dr. James Lehman resigned as President and was succeeded by then Executive Vice President, Dr. Walter Browe, who served as interim before becoming the fifth president.


  • Siena Heights joined the Napier Campus offering bachelor degree opportunities.


  • Dr. Browe retired and Dr. Ann Mulder became the College’s sixth President.
  • The College began administering ASSET assessment testing to evaluate all incoming students in students in reading, writing and mathematics. 
  • The College achieved the maximum 10-year accreditation from North Central Association.


  • The Mendel Center for Arts and Technology opened on the Benton Harbor campus. The new community center was made possible in part by a $1 million gift from Herbert and Audre Mendel in honor of Herbert's brother, Edwin.


  • Dr. Anne Mulder Retired. 


  • Greg A. Koroch was named interim president.


  • Dr. Richard J. Pappas was named the seventh president.


  • LMC began offering distance learning telecourses.


  • The Mainstage auditorium and Upton Telecommunications Center were opened within The Mendel Center. 


  • Lake Michigan College celebrates its 50th anniversary.


  • The Bertrand Crossing Campus in Niles was opened, funded in part by State grant and private contributions. 


  • A Title III federal grant helped to create 100% wired classrooms and the expansion of online classes.


  • The M-TEC campus was opened to meet the training needs of the area's manufacturing industry. 
  • A One Stop Student and Financial Services Center was opened within the Benton Harbor campus. 


  • The college library is rededicated as the William Hessel Library, named for the library Dean who served from 1957-1985.


  • South Haven residents vote to join the Lake Michigan College district.


  • The South Haven Campus was completed. 
  • Western Michigan University-Southwest opened on the Benton Harbor Campus.


  • Dr. Richard Pappas resigned.
  • Robert Harrison became interim president
  • The One-Stop Student Center and the Financial Services Center was named the Richard J. Pappas Student Services Center in honor of the seventh president.


  • Dr. Randall R. Miller was hired as the eighth president
  • A Nursing Education Center opened on the Benton Harbor campus.  


  • A new Medical Imaging Career Center (MICC) opened on the Benton Harbor campus.
  • The Niles Campus celebrated its tenth anniversary, and the South Haven Campus marked its fifth. 


  • Dr. Randall Miller resigned.
  • Dr. Robert Harrison became the college's ninth president.


  • New Science Learning Labs open on the Benton Harbor Campus. 


  • Dental Assisting labs were renovated. 
  • The Red Hawks athletics mascot was introduced, replacing the former Indians mascot. 


  • The Hawk's Nest, student activity center was opened on the Benton Harbor Campus. 


  • Beckwith Hall, LMC's first residence hall opened with 188 beds on the Benton Harbor campus.
  • The Higher Learning Commission approved the college's first bachelor degree program in Applied Science in Energy Production and Distribution Management. 


  • A Wine and Viticulture Technology program was established as the Midwest's first commercial teaching winery.
  • A Medical Assisting program was established. 
  • Dr. Robert Harrison announced his retirement and Dr. Jennifer Spielvogel is named the tenth president.


  • The Hanson Technology Center opened on the Benton Harbor campus, made possible in part by a gift from area manufacturing leader, Merlin Hanson.  
  • A ten-year, 0.48 mill capital millage request was passed by voters in LMC's district. 
  • LMC establishes the Berrien County Fifth Year Early/Middle College program with Berrien Regional Education Services Agency (RESA) to offer college credits to high school students. 
  • Dr. Jennifer Spielvogel began her term as college president in January. Her tenure ended on May 5.
  • Robert Harrison was named President Emeritus/Acting CEO.
  • The Geospatial Information Science and Technology certificate program was established 
  • The Applied Science in Engineering Technology degree program was established. 
  • Education program transfer agreements were signed with Western Michigan University. 
  • Pharmacy Technician certificate and associate degree programs were introduced.


  • Dr. Trevor Kubatzke began his term as the college's tenth president in April.
  • The Fab Lab was opened within the Hanson Technology Center and offered memberships to students, employees and community members. 
  • The Economic Club of Southwest Michigan transferred ownership and operations of its long-standing speaker series to the college.