Though Bay College’s Main Campus is in Escanaba, another vital part of the school is its Iron Mountain-based West Campus. Bay College Foundation Board Member Nancy Finch plays a crucial role in coordinating fundraising efforts and more between these two campuses.
According to Nancy, the foundation board’s members are either currently active in the communities Bay serves or were previously involved but retired. Thanks to her decades of involvement with Finch Law, P.C. in Iron Mountain, Nancy falls into the former category.
“I’m an attorney – I’ve been in my practice for almost 35 years,” she said.
Her time on the board began when Bay College Vice President of College Advancement Kim Carne took her to lunch and asked if she would become a member. That happened over half a decade ago, and she has been a board member ever since.
“I don’t know how time flew like that, but it did,” Nancy said.
Most of the foundation board’s members live in Delta County. However, along with Board Member Maddy Tousignant and Secretary Julie Olson, Nancy is based in Dickinson County. These three members attend board meetings virtually, which was the case even before the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020.
Nancy said the foundation board’s goals are securing scholarships, planning fundraisers, and increasing student enrollment in the communities Bay serves.
“We’re ambassadors to the college first and are also involved with enhancing the college’s ability to provide resources to students,” she said.
While the foundation board serves both campuses, Bay has a more extensive history in Delta County than in Dickinson County. Because of this, Nancy said the board is working to increase scholarship donations for West Campus students.
Money from fundraisers organized by the foundation board goes towards improving the Bay College experience at both campuses. At the West Campus, these fundraisers have supported the construction of a tutoring center and the purchase of simulation technology for nursing students.
As part of her enrollment-related work, one of Nancy’s goals has been to raise awareness of Bay’s dual enrollment programs.
“Students can graduate from high school and earn a two-year degree from Bay at the same time,” she said of this program.
Along with these priorities, the foundation board hopes to recruit additional members in both counties served by Bay.
Nancy said she is pleased that Bay College has established a presence in Dickinson County.
“A family donated the land that the West Campus was built on, but Bay had a hard campaign to get a millage approved. While that was all before my involvement with the foundation board began, I’m proud of how our community has started to embrace Bay,” she said.
She was also glad to be a part of successful fundraisers at the West Campus. In addition to the significant amounts of money they raised, these events brought people in Dickinson County to Bay’s campus in Iron Mountain.
“We’re proud that people gave money generously, and that’s to everybody’s credit – the entire board worked together, supported it, donated, and helped out,” Nancy said.
She thanked the school’s students, faculty, and staff for their involvement with these fundraisers. While she looks forward to resuming the events, they remain on hold due to the ongoing pandemic.
Finally, Nancy said she is happy with how the foundation board has helped make college education more accessible to people across the Upper Peninsula.
“Education’s one of the most important things someone can have. The more people we can get it to, the better,” she said.
People in Dickinson County who are interested in joining the foundation board can reach Nancy at 906-779-1587. Delta County residents who wish to join the board, or anyone who wants to donate/assist, can contact Kim Carne at 906-217-4027.