1 Pomp and circumstance during LRCC's 50th anniversary

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LACONIA — Lakes Region Community College is using its 50th anniversary as the impetus to reconnect with alumni, former college employees and the broader community, while having a little fun along the way.
The former Laconia Vocational-Technical Institute has gone through a number of changes through the years and, during its 50th anniversary celebration, as it marks those achievements, it will be attempting to re-engage with those who had a part in its history. The college plans to hold a series of events between now and the 2018 graduation exercises, and is seeking old photographs, which it will be digitizing, and other historical material.
The college will launch its celebration during this weekend's commencement ceremony, kicking things off by providing each graduate with a 50th anniversary alumni T-shirt. Anniversary T-shirts also will be on sale to the public during commencement, and committee members will be seeking contact info and shared memories of the college.
"We hope to get the community engaged," said Larissa Baia, the college's vice president of Student Services and Enrollment Management, who is on the anniversary committee.
This weekend also will see the first public display of the newly commissioned College Mace, created by New Hampshire artist Katie Shearin. The mace, carved of butternut wood and inlaid with pewter, is infused with icons of knowledge as well as college symbols and images representing the state.
Throughout the year, the college will be seeking the involvement of past students and employees, offering programs that target specific groups, such as a car show that would be of interest to present and former automotive students.
Specific plans are still being formulated, but the committee anticipates putting on a fall event prior to the Laconia Pumpkin Festival, and it will hold smaller events throughout the year, offering networking among specific majors as well as entertainment and academic programs.
The college also is updating its television commercials and has a new logo that highlights the 50th anniversary.
"We want to broaden the boundaries of the college," Baia said, noting that people who have passed through the institution have gone on to careers in the area. "All those branches should be celebrated," she said.
College mace
The mace is a symbol of authority dating back to medieval times when knights carried them as weapons during processions. Today, they have become ceremonial objects, embellished with gems and symbols.
The college mace represents the authority vested in the president by the school's governing body, and traditionally is carried by the longest-serving faculty member during commencement.
In creating the new mace, Sherin used butternut from a tree in Dunbarton and pewter she came across at yard sales, and embellished it with symbols that include the college logo, laurel vines and the banner from the college seal, and acorns representing the seeds of knowledge. Also carved into the wood is the Old Man of the Mountain and a loon, representing New Hampshire.
At the top of the mace is the flame of knowledge with oak leaves from the college seal. Inlaid pewter disks carry the symbols of the various disciplines: nursing, culinary, automotive, fire science, and computer science.

50th anniversary events

May 13 – Graduation at Bank of NH Pavilion
July 8 – Retiree Cook-out at LRCC
Sept. 9 – NASCAR event at NH Motor Speedway
Sept. 23-24 – Autumn on the Hill at LRCC
Oct. 14 – Pumpkinfest in Downtown Laconia

LRCC History

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LACONIA — "Since it was established, the story of LRCC is about people. It is about the outstanding students that have come to the college over the years to take coursework to advance their dream and the dedicated faculty and staff that work with them to achieve their goals," said Tom Goulette.

Goulette, who began teaching graphic arts at the college in 1976, rose to the position of vice president of academic affairs before he officially retired in September of 2015. Goulette, who continues to teach courses in graphics and leadership, is compiling a history of Lakes Region Community College in honor of its 50th anniversary. He is currently collecting information from former students – remembrances such as special teachers, athletic teams or social gatherings, or how the college helped in someone's career. Anyone who would like to share their story can contact Goulette at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Goulette's research so far shows a half-century filled with changes. 

The college began as the New Hampshire Vocational Technical College – Laconia, which opened at its current Route 106 location, near the Belmont town line, in the fall of 1968. The original 47,000-square-foot building still contains the college's main entrance, library and some of its current academic classrooms.

In 1980, the first of several expansions was completed. The Robert H. Turner addition provided 28,000 additional square feet, and provided space for a cafeteria and kitchen.

With plans to move the entire school to the Laconia State School property, located off of Parade Road on the Meredith side of the city, the graphic arts and electrical programs were relocated to the State School's Powell Building in the summer of 1995. That plan was scuttled when the State School was instead used to create the now-closed prison, called the Lakes Region Correctional Facility. However, the graphic arts and electrical programs continued to be held there for a decade.

The college's nursing program was established in 2003, owing its existence to the cooperation of LRGHealthcare and its president at the time, Tom Clairmont. Also in 2003, the college earned accreditation under the Higher Education Commission of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Goulette said this was a "critical step" toward LRCC's new mission, which was expanded beyond the vocational programs.

"Because of achieving this status, students now have expanded opportunities to realize their education goals in either one of our traditional career programs, and/or to earn credits toward transfer to a four-year college or university. The quality of our programs, and the credits attained by our students, are now recognized and welcomed by an ever-growing number of four-year college partners," said Goulette.

2005 saw the opening of the first phase of a two-phase project that would significantly expand the LRCC campus. The Center for Arts and Technology building added 35,000 square feet of classroom and laboratory space. This allowed the graphic arts and electrical programs to return to the main campus.

Again with the support of LRGHealthcare, LRCC introduced the Summer Scholars Program in 2007, which brings local high schoolers to the college in the summer, so that they can further their interest in a health care profession by taking the college's Anatomy and Physiology class.

2013 was a year of many changes for LRCC. The second phase of the construction project begun in 2005 was completed, adding yet another 35,000 square feet of space. Known as the Health Science addition, the space contains the nursing program, the fire science classrooms, and a large room known as the Academic Commons, which holds 120 people and is the nearest thing on the campus to an auditorium.

In the same year, the Culinary Arts program moved from the Belmont Mill to the Canterbury Shaker Village, where it is still found today. Also in 2013, the college began offering classes in the Advanced Manufacturing Degree Program. Manufacturing programs and come and gone many times over the college's history, Goulette said, as student interest as piqued and declined. The most recent iteration has remained, though, thanks to strong support from more than 20 local companies.

LRCC's Automotive program has had a partnership with General Motors for 25 years, which attracts students from across Northern New England. In 2015, the program got its own building, when the Automotive Technology Building opened. In September of this year, the automotive program will mark the beginning of a partnership with Toyota. The college also offers generic automotive courses.

Overseeing all of this change has been a long list of presidents. Robert Turner was the founding president, which earned him the honor of having the first addition christened in his name. Others who have occupied the president's office include George Strout, Burt Mills, Robert Moulton, Jane Kilcoyne, Larry Keller, Will Reed, Alex Easton, Karen Sue Grosz, Kathy Enneguess, Mark Edelstein and, most recently, Scott Kalicki.

The college has also gone through a string of names. It started as the New Hampshire Vocational-Technical College–Laconia, then the New Hampshire Technical College–Laconia, the New Hampshire Community-Technical College–Laconia, and, finally, the Lakes Region Community College.

Kalicki, whose six-year tenure as president will conclude later this month, said that the final name change was one that he sees as one of the college's important moments.

"The name change to Lakes Region Community College – while many locals still refer to us as the 'Tech,' the name appropriately defines us more broadly. While we still have important 'technical' vocational programs, we are much more than that in terms of educational opportunities." Many of the college's current students are there to earn a liberal arts degree and transfer their credits to a four-year school, he said.

Kalicki's list of important moments in the college's history also includes the expansion of the school to four buildings, which provides a campus environment, and the addition of the nursing and automotive programs. While the effect has yet to fully materialize, he expects that the recent addition of student housing will soon be seen as a critical step for the college.

Over its history, Kalicki thinks that LRCC has also changed the recent history of the region around it.

"I think we've made post-high school education a reality for many who, without the college being in their community, may not have given it a thought or worked to get a higher education. I think we've brought many talented faculty and staff to the region who ... have made a positive impact on the community; and I believe we've strengthened the local workforce and helped new business come to life, created by our graduates. And, finally, I think we've added a further sense of pride in the community by a wonderful college-community relationship that show it values education and the opportunities it can provide to anyone."

Throughout all of its 50 years, LRCC's overall goal hasn't changed.

Said Kalicki, "Our mission has remained the same – serve all students seeking a high quality education emphasizing active learning and personal attention ... we prepare students to meet their personal goals as well as the needs of business, industry and the community."

Plymouth State University receives $1.5 million gift

PLYMOUTH — Plymouth State University has accepted a $1.5 million gift from the late Ann G. Haggart, a life-long educator. This is the fourth-largest gift in PSU's history and will establish the Holmes-Pattee-Haggart Family Fund. The fund will support two purposes: it will provide scholarships to New Hampshire students with financial need, giving priority to those hailing from Coös, Grafton and Carroll counties, and will create the Holmes-Pattee-Haggart Transformational Leadership Institute.
"Approximately 40 percent of our students represent the first generation in their family to attend college," said Vice President for University Advancement Paula Lee Hobson. "Ann realized how vital scholarship support often is to this segment of our student body."
Haggart also envisioned a program in which K-12 administrators and teachers would have opportunities to work alongside community and corporate leaders to enhance their skills and knowledge of real-world challenges. The concept is a cornerstone of PSU's Integrated Cluster model, and the guiding principle of the new Holmes-Pattee-Haggart Transformational Leadership Institute.
"We are grateful and truly honored to receive this significant gift from Ann Haggart," said Donald Birx, president, Plymouth State University. "She was enormously proud of her family's historical ties to Plymouth State University, and she was a visionary educator who recognized the possibilities of PSU's transformation to an integrated clusters model. Ann's generous gift will continue her family's legacy by strengthening PSU's future."
The Holmes-Pattee-Haggart Family Fund was announced in a ceremony in the Samuel Read Hall Building on the PSU campus. Nearby Samuel Read Hall Building stands the historic "Holmes Plymouth Academy Rock" that marks the original site of Holmes Plymouth Academy. Following the ceremony, PSU planted a memorial tree near the Holmes Plymouth Academy Rock in honor of the Holmes-Pattee-Haggart family.
Haggart was a descendant of Colonel Samuel Holmes who gave $500 to establish the Holmes Plymouth Academy in 1808. Holmes Plymouth Academy was one of the first formal teacher training institutions in the state, later becoming Plymouth Normal School and Plymouth State Teachers College, before evolving into Plymouth State College and ultimately becoming Plymouth State University. Members of Haggart's family graduated from Plymouth Normal School and Plymouth State College, and all became teachers in New Hampshire public schools. Haggart carried on her family's legacy as a public school teacher who supported children with special needs, frequently speaking on inclusion. Haggart was also co-author of several books and videos for educators.

05-12 PSU gift

Plymouth State University accepted a $1.5 million gift from the late Ann G. Haggart, a life-long educator, in a ceremony in Plymouth. This is the fourth-largest gift in PSU's history and will establish the Holmes-Pattee-Haggart Family Fund, which will provide scholarships to New Hampshire students with financial need, giving priority to those hailing from Coös, Grafton and Carroll counties, and will create the Holmes-Pattee-Haggart Transformational Leadership Institute. Shown is PSU President Donald L. Birx. A portrait of Ann Haggart is to his right, and the tree that was planted on campus in honor of the Holmes-Pattee-Haggart family is on the left. (Courtesy photo)