As OCC turns 50, it launches a year-long celebration to mark its launch in 1964 and the first class to walk through its doors in 1965.
This fall, OCC enrolled its 50th group of freshmen and began the celebration of a half century of excellence. Nearly one million students have studied at OCC in the last five decades. OCC graduates chefs, EMTs, nurses and dental hygienists. Students also transfer to bachelor and graduate degree programs to become doctors, lawyers and teachers. One of OCC’s graduates is astronaut Andrew Feustel.
“We are excited about OCC’s next 50 years,” said OCC Chancellor Timothy Meyer. “The total impact OCC and its graduates have had on this community is beyond calculation.”
Some highlights of the last 50 years:
- George and Doris Mosher are known as OCC’s “founding” parents. With her husband and community members, Mrs. Mosher campaigned to make a vote on the College successful. George Mosher was elected to the first OCC Board in 1964 and remained on it until 1970.
- Classes began in 1965 in adapted buildings at the Auburn Hills Campus, a demobilized Army missile base dating to the 1950s, and the Highland Lakes Campus, a former county tuberculosis sanatorium in Waterford built in the 1920s. In 1964, the College purchased a former apple orchard in Farmington Hills and transformed it into the Orchard Ridge Campus, opening in 1967. An administrative center opened in Bloomfield Hills in 1969.
- OCC set a national record for a community college opening semester enrollment with 3,860 students in 1965. Enrollment was 15,142 five years later.
- Dr. John E. Tirrell was OCC’s first president, serving from 1964 to 1968. Since its founding, OCC has featured eight leaders. Its current chancellor, Dr. Timothy Meyer, took the helm in 2008.
- In 1990, OCC’s student population reached 28,667, making it the largest of Michigan’s 28 community colleges. Today, OCC is the largest of 28 community colleges in Michigan and 23rd largest of the country’s 1,200 community colleges. It has enrolled nearly a million students since its founding. It offers more than 160 degrees and certificates, including transfer degrees in business, science and liberal arts.
By Margarita Wagerson