sitemap JMC: IN OUR OWN WORDS (1975)
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This Webpage offers a transcription of a two-page article published in the 1975 JMC 10th Anniversary tabloid created and distributed in April 1975.

According to the first paragraph: "As part of the celebration of JMC's 10th birthday, a group of JMC students interviewed alumni and faculty this past winter to find out what JMC was like in the past. The following is a compilation of some of the things that alumni and faculty described in the interviews, in their own words."

None of the comments are attributed to a specific individual. As a result, the presentation below is simply subdivides the comments in accordance with their appearance in the article and presents them in approximate order of their appearance.

Photocopies of selected pages were sent in by Stewart Lachman, a photocopy of the entire tabloid was sent by Cleo Parker, and an original specimen was submitted by Cynthia Freeland. Thanks, Folks!

The contents of this article have been transcribed for Web presentation. Aspects of the specific layout, formatting, etc., therefore diverge from the precise appearance of the material in the tabloid.

If anyone has additional 'hard-core' data on JMC, its operations, its performance, or its outcomes, please Contact the Editor.



Justin Morrill College 10th Anniversary Tabloid / Paper
April 1975
Pages 6 and 7




JMC helped in developing my independence and self-confidence. I learned that I could start with a given base, and then build whatever I wanted to from that. That is something I thought was important to me at the time and since then. I continually find that it's a good thing to be able to do.




It seemed like a small college -- classes were small and the residential aspect of it -- living with the people you had classes with -- relationships would be a lot closer. You got to know some people well. Most of the people I know in the university were in JMC at one time or another.




I've learned how to look at a lot of things. I was a much better observer after four years. I couldn't do anything, but I could see a lot of things that were important or could benefit from change, although I couldn't change them. I had no training to do anything. I was trained in observation, which doesn't hurt.




It's so difficult to isolate the changes in my academic philosophy during those years from my love life, from learning about dope, and all the other things that go on when you go to college. I think the way America is set up universities manage to strip away all your crutches; father, mother, brother, sister, home and replace it with nothing. And you get a lot of very groping people -- groping not for just some academic structure that fits their needs, but they're groping for a life style, they're groping for another person, groping for whatever. Making clear-cut descriptions about how I felt being an academic student at JMC becomes pretty difficult.




For I & E, we had to write all these papers and then make copies for everyone else on NCR paper. I'll never forget the smell of NCR paper. It will always make me think of my first year here.




For a while, I felt that I was floating -- I was moored, unanchored. I was learning a lot of different things, but I wasn't putting them together. So I was floating, but at the same time it gave me a change to start to put some things together that I might not have had the chance to do otherwise. Some very deep things rather than just relying on more superficial structures.




That's another thing that I learned here, you create your own environment.




It doesn't matter what you learn, it's typing speed that counts!




The JMC experience -- I just really enjoyed it tremendously because it gave me a lot of freedom to choose my own kind of curriculum and to dabble in a lot of things. And it gave me a chance for that contact, which is part of what JMC is all about, with professors in an intimate kind of way and with my fellow students. I lreaned real fast the problem of having the freedom that you have in JMC. I found my limits real fast. I realized how much I wasn't prepared to be free in my academic choices and so on, and so I was glad to have some structure. But if I had been able to handle more freedom I could have had it, I think, in JMC.




That was one of the interesting things about my years here was my confrontation with freedom of choice. Because I came from a structured educational system. All of a sudden I had freedom to make choices and I didn't really know how to do that.




JMC doesn't prepare you for a specific job but it prepares you for a lot of different things, whether that's a job or graduate school or just simply living. Others have made exactly the same complaint, that it didn't prepare them for a thing, that they just marked time for four years and they had to put off growing up and living in the real world for those four years. The reaction has been mixed. Generally, I think it's probably leaning toard the favorable side, more toward positive feedback than negative.




I remember, they told me when I was in high school, that I wasn't college material and I should go join the Coast Guard...




I probably would never had gone to Europe if I hadn't gone within the structure of a university curriculum. Then my folks would let me go.




Someone once said about JMC committees, that after all was said and done, more was said than done.




The faculty weren't on a pedestal. They were very reasonable people. If you needed help they were more than willing to give it. They were very available. It wasn't as though you had to go all the way over to Berkey on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 1:00 and 1:30 and maybe they'd be there, that type of thing.




Being in a college that gives you an environment that is supportive and enriching leaves you pretty free to pursue your interests.




The courses were very interesting and if you thought they were dull you said so and the professor tried to make it interesting for you.




If you came here you felt like you were in a womb or a cocoon or something. I'm home and they know me.




I guess it was probably true that we were pretty isolated from the rest of the campus and what goes on. It's a trade-off -- your sense of community means that you are separating yourself from everyone else, or how else do you define that community?




I remember a lot of organizational activity. Questionnaires seemed to be a very big thing here, and committees, it seemed. There was a questionnaire for everything. What I've learned from that is organizing information and how to gather information. And basically, that's what I do in my business.




After about 2 years, the classes began to sound real tempting, real beautiful -- starting to integrate a different feel. That kind of thing doesn't happen as fast in any of the other departments in the University.




I came here to have a good time, and any education I got was coincidental. I had a great time! Coincidentally, I think I got well-educated.




No one outside of Snyder-Phillips knew much about JMC. My most vivid memory ws standing in line and someone asking me what college are you enrolled in, and Justin what? That was their immediate reaction, not let me help you, but Justin what?




The relation then between Snyder-Phillips and JMC was very close. I remember some of the students who were in Snyder-Phillips and weren't in JMC, sometimes had a few complaints. A lot of the orientation of the dorm was toward JMC. We used the facilities for classes and they could see we were getting special treatment, small classes and such things.




I think one of the things that is often forgotten from the very beginning was that we came to the first day of class in September, 1965, with 400 students and three days later we had 300 students. We lost 100 students when they figured out what it was about. 25% of the first opening class. Well, I think the opening information was so vague and so general that when the students came here and found that they had a rather rigorous language component -- all these courses they had to take. They said, "My god, the message I got was that this was going to be a fairly easy, open, do-it-yourself college," and we lost them then. To some extent we've been working ever since then to make it an easy do-it-yourself college.




The small classes made a big difference in the way I felt about my experience here after I left.




The classes were small. You knew everyone. Especially in the first two years. I think you knew everyone in the college even by name. Not their last name, but knew who they were and you usually had them in one of your classes somehow. It was a very familyish kind of thing.




We weren't supposed to be picked to enter JMC because of grades only, but there was a hight percentage of very bright people to begin with. And that was the atmosphere, and that for me was a plus. Scholastic endeavor wasn't put down, it was still prized. There were intellectual people around that had ideas, could think for themselves. That was enriching.