Twenty-three members of the 1971 graduating class of Barton County Community College are scheduled to attend a reception and recognition Friday evening at the Shafer Art Gallery.
This event is part of the ongoing 50th-anniversary celebration at Barton, which opened in 1969. At a huge public event back in September, Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman commented, “Barton’s beginning was based on vision and need.” The first year saw a class of 853 students, which has grown to this year’s projected enrollment of nearly 15,000 students.
A lot has changed since the first class graduated in 1971. The Shafer Art Gallery did not yet exist. The campus in Barton County is now one of seven primary fixed locations – others include Grandview Plaza, Fort Riley and Fort Leavenworth, as well as the Adult Education Center in Great Bend – a virtual campus and 23 additional service locations.
“The mission of Barton Community College is to provide quality educational opportunities that are accessible, affordable, continuously improving and student focused. Barton is driven to provide an educational system that is learning-centered, innovative, meets workforce needs, strengthens communities and meets the needs of a diverse population.”
Barton’s vision is to “be a leading educational institution, recognized for being innovative and having outstanding people, programs and services.”
We’re fortunate to live in a community with a forward-thinking college, but it is also good that we can look back over five decades and celebrate its beginning. No doubt some of those first grads will have wonderful stories to tell.