A public program to start the Fort Scott Community College Centennial Celebration was one of speeches, a prayer and a song on Monday morning at the Ellis Arts Center on the campus.
Students, guests and the public were invited to hear the experiences of former students and teachers, then eat a quick hot dog lunch and some cake and cookies in celebration of the community college’s 100th year.
Speakers were FSCC President Alysia Johnston who welcomed the crowd and introduced Kansas Senator Caryn Tyson. Tyson then presented the college with a commendation from the Kansas Senate for its’ 100 years of serving the community.
The speakers at the Centennial Celebration were FSCC Vice President of Student Services Janet Fancher, retired FSCC instructor Jack Gilmore; Mark Muller, FSCC Class of 1979; Tyson; retired FSCC instructor Marcel Normand; Gina Findley Shelton, class of 1999; Jim Barrows, class of 1968 and Johnston. A letter read by Fancher from Esther Anne (Weeks) Sewell, class of 1941, who is 96 years old.
Additionally, FSCC Class of 2013 Taylor Bailey produced an introductory video, narrated by Tyler Covey, class of 2019. FSCC President’s Ambassador Hannah Reel led the flag salute and Dusty Drake, lead minister at Community Christian Church, said the closing prayer.
Following the program and lunch, the crowd was asked to stop by the tree planted in honor of the celebration near the front of the building, where a fly-by drone took an aerial photo of the group.
During the welcome FSCC President Alysia Johnston told the audience that the school was established in 1919 and is the oldest continuous public community college in Kansas.
The school, established in 1919, was originally located at the Fort Scott High School building until 1967 when it moved to the 150-acre current site, and 200 students started classes. At this time, FSCC also began offering classes in Paola, according to information provided by the college.
In 1973 the administration building was completed and was later named the Dick Hedges Administration Building.
In 1982, Arnold Arena was completed, with one side a rodeo arena and the other a basketball gym, weight training area, athletic dressing rooms, classrooms, a computer lab and athletic offices. Arnold Arena just completed a renovation of the gym in Sept. 2019.
In 1986, the college acquired the cosmetology school from Pittsburg State University and N. Jack Burris Hall was completed in 1989.
A dormitory was opened in 2002 and named Chester Boileau Hall.
In 2004, FSCC purchased and renovated the former Sisters of Mercy Convent on Burke Street for the nursing program. Also in 2004, the college remodeled a wing of the former Miami
County Hospital in Paola, which then became the FSCC Miami County Campus.
The Gordon Park Museum and Center of Diversity also was established in 2004 at FSCC to honor Fort Scott native Gordon Parks, a photographer, writer, poet, musician and filmmaker.
The Danny And Willa Ellis Family Fine Arts Center was opened in 2009 which included a 600-seat theater, community meeting rooms, the Gordon Parks Museum the Kathy Ellis Academic Hall.
The Kansas National Guard Armory was purchased in 2010 and houses the John Deer technician program and the welding program.
The cosmetology department moved to a newly remodeled space in 2014 on campus and the rodeo program opened a new rodeo building.
This year, an addition to the Burris Hall which was provided by donations from the Chester Boileau and Lonnie Cleaver estates, opened with new offices, classrooms, bathrooms, and a trophy display area for the FSCC Livestock and Meat’s Judging Teams awards.
There will be a banquet on Sept. 20 as part of the continuing celebration, and a tailgate party with free food at the Greyhound Football Game, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m.
For more information: 620-223-2700.