The MCTC News Blog

MCTC Dedicates its Science Center

Posted on: December 2nd, 2015 by insidemctc 1 Comment

MCTC Ackerberg Science CenterNew names on the MCTC Science Center building belong to longtime friends of the college: Carolyn and Sanders (Sandy) Ackerberg. Nearly a hundred friends, family and community members gathered in the newly dedicated Ackerberg Science Center on November 23 to honor the life, legacy and gift made on behalf of Sandy.

“This is a thankful time all around the country,” said MCTC Vice President of Strategic Partnerships Mike Christenson, “and it’s a particularly thankful week at MCTC.” The dedication took place a few days before Thanksgiving.

The MCTC Foundation received a generous $1 million gift from Carolyn Ackerberg in memory of her late husband Sanders (Sandy) Ackerberg, who served and led the MCTC Foundation and helped lay the groundwork for what MCTC is today. Among the largest gifts in MCTC Foundation history, this donation will be used to fund scholarships and provide resources for students in need. In gratitude, the College named its Science Center for the Ackerbergs.

“Scholarships give college students the gift of time,” said Vice President of Academic Affairs Gail O’Kane. “There is no greater gift to students.”

AckerbergsSandy served on the MCTC Foundation Board of Directors for a decade and was Board President from 1986–1988. It was Sandy’s belief in the potential of all persons, and his commitment to education, that led him to serve MCTC, leading fundraising efforts and spearheading the Foundation’s first capital campaign.

A graduate of North High School, Sandy served the United States during WWII, and came home to enroll at the University of Minnesota. After earning his degree in architecture in 1949, he launched a long and highly respected career as an architect and real estate developer. For more than 35 years, Carolyn and Sandy worked together managing commercial and multi-housing real estate properties.

Sandy passed away in 2009. Since then, Carolyn has kept Sandy’s passion for MCTC students alive.

The dedication was attended by a rounded sample of community members, well-wishers and past and present employees. Attendees included former MCTC President Phil Davis, champion of the tuition relief program Power of YOU and leader of the 2009 capital funding campaign to redesign and upgrade the Science Center; Foundation Board President Harry Davis, Jr.; State Senator Scott Dibble who represents MCTC’s community and has been described as one of the foremost leaders of civil rights in the state; five MCTC students who received Ackerberg Science Scholarships; former Executive Director of the MCTC Foundation Reede Webster who led the Foundation at the time of the Ackerbergs’ donation; and many others.

“I guarantee if you invest in MCTC, you’ll get the best return on your investment,” said Foundation Board President Harry Davis, Jr.

The Science Center is, itself, an engineering wonder. Opened in 2009, the Center was built over and around buildings purchased from businesses adjacent to campus. A dedicated team of architects, designers, engineers and College faculty agreed on an open, airy design for the building’s interior spaces, and a striking glass façade on the exterior front. The building contains energy-efficient mechanical and electrical systems, and was constructed with careful attention to waste production, recycling potential and landfill avoidance.

“Your gift, Carolyn, extends far beyond money,” said Astronomy Instructor Parke Kunkle, noting that the dedication fell on the 100 year anniversary of Albert Einstein’s presentation of his theory of relativity. “We’re excited to see the ripples you’ve created in the fabric of our lives.”
“I’m honored to be here on behalf of my beloved husband Sandy,” said Carolyn Ackerberg. “Although we all prefer that he be here himself, his gift is intended to provide the means for future generations of students and graduates to be successful. If we can eliminate just this one barrier for students, it may mean the difference in their educations and their lives.”

Click here for an album of photos from the dedication.

MCTC Foundation Receives $1 Million Gift

Posted on: May 14th, 2015 by marketingworkstudy No Comments
Carolyn and Sanders Ackerberg

Carolyn and Sanders Ackerberg

The MCTC Foundation has received a generous, $1 million gift from Carolyn Ackerberg in memory of her late husband Sanders (Sandy) Ackerberg, who served and led the MCTC Foundation and helped lay the groundwork for what MCTC is today.

Among the largest gifts the Foundation has received, this donation by the Ackerbergs will be used to fund scholarships and provide resources for students in need. In gratitude, the College will name its Science Center for the Ackerbergs.

“This gift will provide resources, inspiration and momentum for our College and our students,” said Avelino Mills-Novoa, interim president of MCTC. “We are grateful to Carolyn and Sandy for their belief in our students.”

Sandy’s legacy of service and achievement began during his time as a B-24 pilot in the 7th Army Air Corps during World War II serving in the southwest Pacific. After his return home, Sandy enrolled at the University of Minnesota, receiving a degree in architecture in 1949, and began his long and career as an architect, real estate developer and leader of the MCTC Foundation.

“His most enduring personal quality remains his genuine interest in, and concern for, all people he met,” said Carolyn. “He had a unique ability to connect with students, and enjoyed speaking and learning from the students he met at MCTC.”

Sandy passed away in 2009, and Carolyn has kept Sandy’s passion for MCTC students alive. A man of many talents, he served as president of the Foundation alongside historical community leaders Wheelock Whitney, Lou Nanne, Becky Malkerson and David Nasby.

“Sandy was a true gentleman, with a genuine interest and concern for the students of MCTC,” said Carolyn. “I know in my heart this is what he would like to do.”

“We express deep gratitude to the Ackerbergs,” said Reede Webster, executive director of the MCTC Foundation. “Their support will mean scholarships and supports for students who otherwise would not have the opportunity to pursue a college degree.

MCTC Graphic Design Students Receive MCAD Scholarships

Posted on: December 22nd, 2014 by marketingworkstudy 1 Comment

MCADscholarshipSTORYMCTC Graphic Design students Raul Villanueva and Maria Sanchez have received scholarships worth over $100,000 combined from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD).

The MCAD Visual Merit Scholarship recognizes student achievement and success. The renewable scholarship is given yearly to 50 enrolled students pursuing their BFA, BS or MFA. Villanueva is honored to have received the award.

“I don’t think I could have accomplished it without all the support from my family and instructors in the Graphic Design department,” he said.

Both Villanueva and Sanchez were encouraged to apply for the scholarship by Graphic Design instructor Bill Hendricks upon being accepted to MCAD, one of the country’s most prestigious art institutions.

“We are so proud these individuals as we are of all of our graduates, whether working, freelancing, or continuing their education at a four-year institution,” he said.

The two students will be finishing up their respective associate’s degrees at MCTC this spring and will be starting at MCAD in fall 2015.

“I feel ready and confident thanks to everything that our instructors in the Graphic Design department have taught us,” Sanchez said. “We have learned to be leaders in our field and to always strive for the best.”

2014 Cinema Excellence Awards Winners

Posted on: November 4th, 2014 by marketingworkstudy No Comments

CinemaAwards2014-200The MCTC Cinema Division has announced the winners of its 2014 Excellence Awards. The Excellence Awards ceremony brings MCTC students, faculty, staff and the local film community together to recognize students for their work and award scholarships.

Click here to see the winning videos.


The Excellence Awards are generously sponsored by:

MCTC Scholarship Recipients and Donors Honored

Posted on: November 4th, 2014 by marketingworkstudy No Comments

ScholarshipBreakfast2014-200The MCTC Foundation held its 11th annual Scholarship Breakfast for students who received Foundation scholarships in the last year and the donors who made those scholarships possible. More than 200 students applied for these scholarships, and this year the Foundation will grant more than $300,000 in scholarships. The MCTC Foundation has distributed more than $2.5 million in the last five years in grants, Power of YOU scholarships and emergency funding.

“I am honored to have been involved with the College for as long as I have,” said MCTC Board President Harry Davis, Jr. “When I attended this school in the 60s—back then, it was known as Metropolitan State Junior College—this was a nontraditional school for nontraditional students.” Davis took classes taught by one of the College’s most foundational contributors: Earl Bowman. “Earl Bowman was the first African-American teacher I’d ever had,” he said.

Five scholarship recipients spoke at the event. “When you’re a father, a grandfather and a college student all at the same time, you may feel like you have many reasons to drop out of school,” said MCTC Liberal Arts student and Nadia and Louis Najarro Smith Scholarship recipient Juan Morales. “Thanks to the trust of Nadia and Louis, I’ll be able to succeed.”

MCTC students learn about scholarship opportunities from their instructors, advisors, the Foundation website and friends. The Scholarship Breakfast allows students to meet some scholarship funders—like Deb Pomroy, instructor of English as a Second or Other Language courses at MCTC since 1991. Deb and her family fund the Srok Scholarship, named for her grandfather who didn’t speak any English when he immigrated to the U.S. “It’s never a mistake to invest in people,” said Deb. Read her story on page 9 of The Groove magazine.

“I really appreciate that you believed in me,” said Nardos Legamo, MCTC Nursing student, former ESOL student and recipient of the Srok Scholarship.

“This is my favorite, and most inspiring, event of the year,” said Reede Webster, executive director of the MCTC Foundation. “These scholarships were part of MnSCU’s comprehensive Access to Excellence Scholarship Campaign, which has raised over $17 million so far for student scholarships and is 74 percent ahead of its first year goal of $10 million.”

“The theme I’m seeing in this year’s Scholarship Breakfast is generosity,” said MCTC Interim President Avelino Mills-Novoa. “As we approach Thanksgiving and take this opportunity to be grateful, we also want to thank the donors who generously made these scholarships available.”

Morales used Minnesota winters to describe how helpful a scholarship can be: “If there’s a big snowstorm and you have to clear your driveway before you can get somewhere, sometimes all you have is a tiny little shovel, and it’s really difficult to get anywhere,” he said. “But if someone comes by with a big truck and plows your driveway for you, it’s so much easier to keep moving forward with your life.”

The MCTC Foundation will accept scholarship applications for the spring 2015 semester until Nov. 26. Click here to explore scholarship options.

Photo, from left to right: MCTC Board President Harry Davis, Jr., Kopp Presidential Scholar Nathan Place, Kopp Presidential Scholar Frances Emberly, Srok Memorial Scholar Nardos Legamo, Najarro Smith Dream Act Scholar Juan Morales, Power of YOU Scholar Antonio Hunt and Interim MCTC President Avelino Mills-Novoa.