Bay College's Commitment to Community Success


From its beginning more than fifty years ago, Bay College has been a major economic driver in Delta County contributing over $100 million annually to the local community. In an unwavering commitment to the success of the community by serving as an education, training and cultural enrichment facility, Bay College has not only assisted 12,483 graduates and awarded 16,120 degree-holders over the past half century achieve their educational goals, but the college continues to extend the use of its facilities and technological resources to serve nonprofit organizations, businesses, and industry leaders with their critical training and meeting needs. Bay College’s event services and training & development departments have together provided training to over 2,500 local employees each year, hosted 1,153 events, and directly impacted 27,869 community members on campus between 2018 and 2019. 

“Ask almost any student, community member, or local organization in the area, and they’ll tell you a compelling story of how Bay College changed their life or helped their organization prosper.  How a professor inspired them. How services, like training or conference facilities were instrumental in achieving organizational success. How their quality of life was enriched by attending an exhibition or performance. Bay College was exactly what they needed it to be,” says Bay College President, Laura Coleman, PhD.

As a local service to the community, more than 1,000 events are held each year by nonprofit organizations that can focus on fulfilling their missions instead of having the financial burden of renting facility space. Testimonials abound about how this service impacts the capacity of local organizations to do the most good and maximize their limited resources. According to for example, the Bay de Noc Gardening Conference Committee, “Bay College provides the ideal venue to host the Bay de Noc gardening conference. The conference provides educational opportunities for more than 150 gardeners from across the U.P. and northern Wisconsin. If we didn’t have Bay College I doubt we would be able to put on the conference. We need access to several classrooms, IT support, along with meal service. We have used Bay College for 19 conferences.”

 Greg Gostomski, Director of Youth, Young and Adult & Family Ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Marquette, shared similar sentiments after hosting a conference at Bay College earlier in October. “We recently held a two-day event at Bay College. We utilized the beautiful Besse Theater, the Bay Café and the Bay Rooms in the Joseph Heirman University Center. All the facilities were excellent, rooms were comfortable and the technology was top notch. All of the staff members I had the pleasure of working with were professional, accommodating and worked to make the event a success.”

Finally, according to Dale Skogman, Vice President of Bay Sages, a group of over 100 senior citizens meeting frequently at Bay College to learn a variety of subjects, “Bay College has been most hospitable to Bay Sages providing: office and meeting space, audio visual support, meeting set ups, catered luncheons and meeting refreshments. We have always found the staff and administration at Bay College to be most hospitable and helpful in assisting our group of senior citizens. All this service is provided free of charge.”

“Bay has been there for the community since we opened our doors 57 years ago. In a way, Bay College is like a home, a home for everyone. In that same vein, we have to take care of our home when things are broken and old before fixes become too expensive or dangerous; this is the fiscally responsible thing to do. To continue providing the safe, efficient and productive space our students and community members deserve, the college is going out for a millage on November 5 to address critical infrastructure needs including boilers, chillers, fire suppression and security systems. It is our responsibility to provide our students and the community with a safe and efficient campus,” said Coleman.

Community members are encouraged to attend the next Bay College Town Hall meeting on Tuesday, October 29 at 5:30 PM in the Joseph Heirman University Center during which the college president will provide additional information about the upcoming 0.8924 millage request the community will be asked to vote on November 5, 2019 and its necessity to replace critical infrastructure systems beyond their useful life.

“We have critical improvement needs in building infrastructure, lighting efficiency and safety systems,” said Dr. Coleman during a recent Town Hall meeting. She went on to explain that the installation of new critical infrastructure systems is part of a comprehensive plan to reduce costs of operations through renewable energy, reducing the facility’s carbon footprint by installing boilers that are over 95% efficient, improve safety through new exterior lighting, and ensure a centralized security system that will lock down the campus with one button in the event of an emergency.

“It will be a savings for engineering and construction costs by addressing all of the systems at one time- from heating and cooling to safety and security. The contractors involved will be predominantly local ensuring investment will remain in Delta County,” Coleman explained.

Bay College is committed to community and student success, providing the opportunity for every resident of Delta County to earn a high -quality college education affordably leading to career readiness in high demand fields. “The community has demonstrated its support of Bay College in the past. Together we can make the future stronger,” concluded Dr. Coleman.

For more information about Bay College and the millage request to fund the future, visit the Bay College Millage web page or call Laura Coleman at 906-217-4022.