SMCC kicks off 75th anniversary celebration with planting ceremonies

Southern Maine Community College kicked off its 75th anniversary celebration on Friday with on-campus planting ceremonies to honor its legacy of transforming people and communities through education and training.

Small groups of students, faculty members, administrators, alumni and community partners planted flowering shrubs and trees in simultaneous ceremonies at SMCC’s South Portland Campus and Midcoast Campus in Brunswick.

“SMCC’s roots go back 75 years, to 1946 when we opened in Augusta as the Maine Vocational Technical Institute,” SMCC President Joe Cassidy said. “And like these shrubs and trees, SMCC will continue to grow in the future, creating opportunities for students and our business and community partners as we adapt to the changing world around us.”

SMCC was founded to provide training to veterans returning from World War II as the U.S. economy transitioned from war to peace. That first year, it had 80 students and four programs: Automotive, Electrical, Machine, and Radio.

Today, SMCC serves nearly 6,000 students from around the state and around the globe, and offers more than 40 degree and certificate programs at campuses in South Portland, Brunswick and online, and at satellite locations throughout southern Maine.

Friday’s celebratory plantings were limited to small groups because of the pandemic. The South Portland ceremony was led by Maine Community College System President David Daigler, while the Midcoast Campus ceremony was hosted by SMCC Midcoast Campus Dean Jim Whitten.

Among the guest planters on the South Portland Campus was David Pratt, a former longtime SMCC faculty member.

“When I arrived at what was then Southern Maine Vocational Technical Institute in the fall of 1976, I didn’t realize then that it was the beginning of a 35-year teaching career at a school that specialized in teaching marketable job skills,” Pratt said. “Now we are celebrating the 75th anniversary, and although there have been many changes, SMCC has not lost its focus. Happy birthday SMCC.”

For more information, please visit SMCC’s 75th anniversary celebration webpage,

Photo: Shown at the South Portland Campus planting ceremony are (from left) SMCC Professor Brian Tarbox; SMCC Foundation donor Eleanor Redmond; SMCC Foundation board member and donor John Boyne; former longtime SMCC Professor David Pratt; Maine Community College System President David Daigler; SMCC student Sarah Metcalf; SMCC student Natalie Potter; and SMCC Professor Norma Willis.