NORFOLK, Neb. -- Recalling the 50th anniversary of Northeast Community College’s origins kicked off Saturday with a whirlwind of fun, including the opening of a time capsule from the Maclay Building.
Sandwiched between a ribbon cutting for a new Little Library on campus and a day filled with family fun such as a petting zoo, live music, face painting and more, there was a remembrance of F. Don Maclay. College officials estimated that about 325 people attended events during the morning and afternoon.
Leah Barrett, Northeast president, said the first building on campus was named after Maclay, who was selected to be the first president of Northeast.
The Maclay Building, which is at the heart of campus, is being taken down and replaced with a modern building that meets technological needs for learning.
“The improved efficiency of a new Maclay will allow more programs to be located in the building,” Barrett said. “Academic programs will include accounting, administrative, professional business, English and Health Information Management Systems. It will also house Academic Outreach, Adult Education, the Center for Teaching and Learning, the administrative offices of the Educational Services Division and Workforce Development.”
During his professional life, Maclay was a teacher, coach, superintendent, and college president in various Nebraska communities, including his hometown of Auburn.
“Throughout Nebraska, he was known as a builder of buildings,” Barrett said.
She noted that it is unfortunate that people sometimes do not get to see their dreams become reality, including Maclay, who barely occupied the building named after him before his death on June 25, 1971.
“His death came at the end of the week that the move into the new offices had been completed, so he did get to occupy his office for four days prior to his death. Thus, he did get to see the building completed, while not occupied by the students for whom he served,” Barrett said.
Last week, Northeast students and faculty were invited to spray paint messages on the building. The messages included several farewells, some messages of school pride, and a few that might have been typical of the era when the 53-year-old building opened.
Those gathered also got to witness the opening of a time capsule from 1973. The capsule was brought up from its buried spot south of Maclay to a table set up for the occasion. The students lifted items out of the capsule and offered comments along with Barrett as they were placed on the table.
The students who assisted were from the Student Leadership Association – Cortlynn Cadwallader, Rachel Thomas, Carter Hasemann and Alex Guenther. From the Students Activities Council, the students who assisted were Joe Hajek, Ashlynn Millikan and Hannah Santos.
Also assisting were Makayla and Joe Ottis, who helped to bury the time capsule in 2003-04 academic year. They noted that several items from the original capsule in the 1970s were included when it was buried again 20 years ago. Items included a gift bag for students with such things as Prell shampoo, an Excedrin bottle and a flyer giving students the opportunity to purchase 11 records or tapes for $1 and then requiring them to enroll in a record club.
Other items in the capsule were photos, programs, class schedules and a planner, among other school artifacts. The items were kept in plastic bags and were well preserved, with a white T-shirt hardly yellowing over time. Afterward, the items were displayed inside Hawks Landing for viewing.
The afternoon included families, students and employees taking part in activities in Hawks Village, ranging from inflatables to live music from Frippery, which performed recent pop and rock tunes.
Northeast Community College students lift the time capsule from its buried location near the southwest corner of the Maclay Building.