Ker Moua | Lead Copy Editor

On Monday, Sept. 18, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., students, staff, officials, and guests gathered to celebrate the 50th birthday of Century College. Events were planned for outside, but mother nature decided not to cooperate. Luckily, all activities were moved to Century College West Campus Gymnasium. Tables dotted the room with black table cloths and vases filled with flowers. The slideshows of Century College were projected onto the walls.

The north end had side tables with exhibition items of Century through the years like albums and gadgets. Free apples, cupcakes and root beer floats were handed out. Guests could also buy hot food at one of the two food stands, one of which sold 50 cent mini hot dogs.

Guests play games with a chance to win prizes.
Credit: Christopher John

On the south end, mini games with prizes had guests playing. A photo booth with fun props were also there. All the while, Century’s own Music for a Cause provided live music for the first hour of the event.

Noon came and the formal ceremony began. Victoria Reinhardt was the MC of the hour as she thanked the many sponsors, visiting officials, and guests. She introduced President Angelia Millender who thanked the previous presidents of Century who helped make Century what it is today. She also had a special thanks to former President Pat Opatz who was the visionary behind the 50th Anniversary event.

After her inspiring speech, Millender introduced Minnesota State Chancellor, Dr. Devinder Malhotra. While giving his speech, Malhotra remarked about his retirement. “When celebrating institutional milestones younger than you, then should retire,” he joked. Malhotra talked about the many accomplishments of Century College like the 324 thousand nurses introduced into Minnesota since 1974. Or that Century was the first to have a fabrication lab making it a leader in digital technology. Now Minnesota have over 75 fabrication labs. He said many great things about Century College and its impact on the community and Minnesota.

Student Senate President Tim Knutson gives a speech amongst his peers.
Credit: Christopher John

Next, Reinhardt introduced the current Student Senate President, Tim Knutson. Knutson tells of Century and how the college and staff members helped him. He hopes that once he graduates, he can “pay it forward to the student body and the next generation of students.”

Finally, Reinhardt introduces the mayors of White Bear Lake and Mahtomedi. Jo Emerson, Mayor of White Bear Lake, and Jud Marshall, Mayor of Mahtomedi spoke about Century College during their speeches. Marshall commented that his speech was framed as they were afraid he’d lose the sheet of paper, but he does note they should have given him a magnifying glass as well. Then the mayors each during their speech on the proclamation ceremony, declared Sept. 18, 2017 as “Century College Day” in White Bear Lake and Mahtomedi.

Two plaques declare “Century College Day” in the cities of White Bear Lake and Mahtomedi.
Credit: Christopher John

Reinhardt then makes a special acknowledgement to the executive director, Jill Greenhalgh from the Century College Foundation for her help with planning the event. Reinhardt also regrets that the weather excluded a planned event that they had hope to do outside. Outside, five special maple seedlings were recently planted to signify the five decades of Century College. They were to represent the pillars of Century College. The ceremony was to be held beside the five trees. Reinhardt instead requests that everyone look at the trees as they pass by them.

The number five seems special as Reinhardt acknowledges the five-people sitting on the stage behind her, Millender, Malhotra, Knutson, Emerson, and Marshall. Just like the five maple trees, the five special guests represent the decades of Century College on its 50th birthday.

Lastly, Reinhardt thanks the many sponsors for the event and the volunteers and staffers who helped the event run smoothly. Then Millender was given the honors to cut the 50-year celebration cake for Century’s happy birthday.

After the ceremony ended, things winded down. There was still free cupcakes, floats, and apples. The food stands were still in operation. The many games and the photo booth were still running. But the crowd had slowly dissipated. Tables were being cleared and cleaned. The music from earlier was missing. The event ended at 1 p.m. and Century College is half a century older.

Still, Century has many things planned. Monday was simply the birthday party. There’s the “Talent of the 1/2 Century” on Nov. 8, showcasing the talents of Century students. There’s also the “Transforming Lives for 50 Years Soiree” on Apr. 19 of next year with details to come. Century College isn’t done celebrating just because it turned 50 years old. Look forward to many events that will dot its future.

Five new maple trees greet cars as they drive into the west campus parking lot.
Credit: Ker Moua