Alumni Spotlight: Andrew St. Coeur

Current or most recent title and employer?
Owner/Chiropractor; Core Performance Chiropractic P.L.L.C.

How did SC4 help prepare you?
SC4 allowed me to take college courses while figuring out what career path interested me the most. SC4 helped me determine what school would be the best to transfer to and made sure credits transferred. I always knew I’d be taking a post-graduate route, so it was a great advantage to study at SC4 while saving money on two years’ worth of credits. I also felt like I had matured personally during my two years at SC4 and felt more prepared when I transferred to MSU.

What do you like most about what you do professionally?
What I love most about my profession is being able to help people. Musculoskeletal problems affect us all at some point in our lives and sometimes it can be a serious problem that compounds over time. I really enjoy being able to team up with patients, to help them move better and to educate them on exercises or stretches that can reduce the chances of another flare-up in symptoms. While running a practice can be a demanding undertaking, it always feels worth it when patients start feeling better and achieve the goals they set on their first appointment.

Did you transfer on and earn other degrees? If so, what degrees and from where?
I graduated with my Associate of Science from SC4 in 2009 and then transferred to Michigan State University. In 2011, I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology in 2011. I moved to the National University of Health Sciences, just outside of Chicago, in 2012 and graduated with my Doctor of Chiropractic in 2015.

Alumni Spotlight: Amanda Slaten Frasier

Current or most recent title and employer?
Assistant Professor, East Tennessee State University (ETSU)

How did SC4 help prepare you?
I actually first attended SC4 when I was in middle school through a program that allowed me to take summer enrichment classes to earn college credit. I took courses in computers, chemistry, and philosophy. I later dual enrolled while I was a high school student. No one in my immediate family had graduated from traditional high school, let alone attended college. I was always a good student, but I did not have anyone to talk about college with or to help me navigate the process. I graduated high school with a high GPA and lots of AP and college credits, but my only plan after graduation was to work at a Denny’s. A friend later convinced me to enroll at SC4, and I am so grateful I did. I earned my associate degree a year later and transferred to a four-year institution. Attending community college was fundamental to my later academic, personal, and career success. Community colleges like SC4 can break down barriers to achievement. I am so grateful I grew up in an area that had a program as robust as SC4.

What do you like most about what you do professionally?
Education is so important to me. I grew up in a rough home environment and education has allowed me to attain things I never would have dreamed of otherwise. I recognize the potential education has to elevate others, and so I have made a career around it.

Did you transfer on and earn other degrees? If so, what degrees and from where?
I went to Central Michigan University and earned a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education with double majors in English and History (2007). I became a teacher and earned my National Board Certification (2012). I also picked up a Master of Library Science degree from East Carolina University (2011). In 2012, I was recruited out of the classroom for a research fellowship at Michigan State University. I earned a Ph.D. in Educational Policy through that program (2017). I have pennants from every school I attended hanging on my office wall at ETSU, including one I had custom-made for SC4.

Challenger Learning Center at SC4 announces Dec. 10 public mission date

>>> Register here

Challenger Learning Center at St. Clair County Community College (SC4) will launch visitors to the moon with Mission: Lunar Quest at 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10. The mission date is open to the public and limited to the first 34 registrants. Seats on the mission are $25 per person and those ages 10-99+ are welcome!

Challenger Learning Center at SC4 is the only Center of its kind in Michigan and one of 40 Challenger Learning Centers nationwide and around the world. It is a fully immersive, space-themed experience aimed at deepening understanding and appreciation of STEM careers and topics and building critical 21st-century skills. It offers unique learning and team-building opportunities for students, educators, corporations and community residents.

“We’re so pleased to announce this open mission date,” said Kristin Copenhaver, vice president of communication and special projects. “If you haven’t yet checked out the Challenger Learning Center, this is an incredible opportunity to do so. Come and join the crew for this mission as individuals or with your families, friends or teammates. See what the excitement is all about!”

Mission participants will launch to the moon in search of a long-term human habitat, command and assist in Mission Control, or board the Spacecraft as an astronaut, serving on teams like biology, geology, weather, robotics, life support and more. They will help deploy a Lunar Exploration Rover to investigate areas of the lunar surface and make critical decisions to turn a potential catastrophe into NASA’s finest hour.

Challenger Center was founded in 1986 in the aftermath of the Challenger shuttle tragedy. The families of the crew came together and created Challenger Center to carry on the spirit of their loved ones and continue the Challenger crew’s educational mission. Challenger Center, with its network of Challenger Learning Centers and digital programs, has reached more than 5.5 million students and learners worldwide.

Register for the Dec. 10 mission at stclair.nbsstore.net/open-lunar-quest-mission-december-10. Mission: Lunar Quest is open to learners in 5th grade and beyond. Support may be available. Contact us with inquiries and questions at experiencecenter@sc4.edu or (810) 989-5789.

To schedule a full group mission at another time, visit challenger.sc4.edu/schedule-a-visit/.

Registration open for SC4’s Golf Classic to benefit student-athletes

The St. Clair County Community College Athletic Department will host the SC4 Golf Classic on Friday, July 22, at Marysville Golf Course. Participants will enjoy 18 holes of golf with friends to support student-athletes.

This year’s event is sponsored by Joe Mericka in honor of his sister Georgette “Gigi” Mericka. As both a community and SC4 supporter, Gigi assisted in securing sponsorships and helped make the SC4 golf outing a success for many years.

“We are grateful for the ongoing community support of Skippers Athletics and our students,” said SC4 Athletic Director Dale Vos. “This event is a great opportunity for us to come together, have some fun and help our hard-working student athletes pursue a college degree.”

The four-person scramble is limited to the first 32 teams to register. The cost is $125 per golfer or $500 per team. Registration for golfers and additional sponsorship opportunities are available online at sc4.edu/thepier/golf.

Check in begins at 11:30 a.m. with a shotgun start at 12:30 p.m. Dinner, awards and prizes will begin at 4:30 p.m.

For more information, contact Dale Vos at (810) 989-5671 or email dvos@sc4.edu.

Successful boutique law firm owner thankful for SC4 start

Successful law firm owner, venture capitalist, community volunteer and advocate, and St. Clair County Community College (SC4) alumnus Gerry Mason has made his mark in Michigan. 

Mason owns a boutique law firm and practices law throughout Michigan, often in joint ventures with significant law firms. He is also active in the areas of private equity investment, small business, venture capital, renewable energy and technology. He’s worked as a City of Detroit Recorder’s Court Law Clerk, as a Macomb County Law Clerk for the Hon. Pat M. Donofrio, and served as a Special Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford, Roscommon and Macomb Counties. 

He’s a member of St. Clair Rotary Club (Past President); Salvation Army Advisory Board Vice Chairman; St. Clair Police Foundation Vice Chairman; State Bar of Michigan Representative Assembly Vice Chairman; State Bar of Michigan Board of Commissioners Member; American Battery Technology Company Advisory Board Member; Voise Inc. Advisory Board Member—and much more.

His many accomplishments are the result of hard work, commitment and dedication to his goals and community. They also help highlight the critical role community colleges like SC4 can play in the educational journey of Michigan residents.

When Mason graduated from St. Clair High School in 1986, he initially enrolled at Michigan Technological University to be a geological engineer.

“I was not ready for a big university,” Mason said. “My dad thought that I should be an attorney and do political science as an undergraduate degree. My friends were at SC4 so I could get a ride. My mom took me to SC4 and enrolled me. Everyone at SC4 was warm and helpful. I loved it. It was college.”

While at SC4 from 1986-1988, Mason participated in student government. He also fully engaged in the classroom and benefitted from great professors and mentors.

“SC4 had excellent professors who cared about their students,” he said. “Harley Smith was great. He taught political science but never showed his views or any bias. He was always totally objective. Virginia Pillsbury taught German, but really she was teaching life. Haddock Snyder taught physics. Professor Snyder had tons of energy and made science fun. Calculus Professor Joe Delisa and I used to eat lunch together. I made friends with other professors like Bob Tansky. Great people.”

Mason transferred from SC4 to the University of Michigan on the advice of SC4 Professor Pillsbury. “All of my credits transferred, saving me $22,000 at that time,” Mason said.

He enrolled in the U-M College of Literature, Science and Art, majoring in political science and minoring in German, Russian and natural science. While there, Mason studied China under Professor Kenneth Lieberthal and spent a semester in the former Soviet Union. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1991 and then went on to enroll in law school at the Detroit College of Law, which became Michigan State University College of Law.

At MSU, Mason served as President of Student Government and Executive Lt. Governor of the American Bar Association, and graduated as Class President. According to Mason, law school challenged him in new ways.

“Law school was hard, fast and intense,” said Mason, who earned a juris doctorate in 1998. “You drank from a fire hose. A law degree teaches you how to think, and organize your oral and written arguments. I felt ready to take it on, though, thanks to the foundation I received at SC4, which made college fun, challenging and attainable.”

The college football, blues music and exercise fan has been putting his well-crafted thoughts to use and taking action ever since—and has no plans of stopping anytime soon.

“I’d like to do more by way of venture capital/private equity collaborations as well as continue charity and community work,” Mason said. “I really want to give back to the practice of law, and I will continue to be an advocate for community colleges like SC4. SC4 gave me a great start to life that I could build upon. Academia can be elitist and exclusive. SC4 offers every student the opportunity to be more than they are and all that they hoped to be by laying the foundation for future opportunities.”

New study shows SC4’s economic impact on students, taxpayers and society

More 2022 Commencement images

St. Clair County Community College (SC4) provides enormous economic value to St. Clair County and the surrounding area, generating more than $137 million in total economic impact.

The figure is among key findings of a newly released study by the nationally recognized economic research firm Emsi Burning Glass, which uses labor market statistics to measure the social as well as the economic impact of the community college in the region.

The study shows a high rate of return on investment for students, taxpayers and society. 

Students enjoy a 14.5 percent rate of return on their educational investment at SC4. For every $1 students invest, they’ll receive $3.80 in higher future earnings than their non-degree holding peers.

Taxpayers receive a high rate of return on their investment as well. State and local funding of $18.9 million in the study year generated $35.6 million in total benefits through added public sector revenue and savings derived through improved alumni salaries and lifestyles. This means for every tax dollar spent educating students attending SC4, taxpayers receive an average of $2.00 in return over the course of the students’ working lives—an annual rate of return of 4.3 percent.

Society invested $48.4 million in SC4 in FY 2020-21. This includes the college’s expenditures, student expenses, and student opportunity costs. In return, the state of Michigan will receive an estimated present value of $417 million in added state revenue over the course of the students’ working lives.

Michigan will also benefit from an estimated $9.5 million in present value social savings related to reduced crime, lower welfare and unemployment, and increased health and well-being across the state. Every dollar society invests in SC4 yields an average of $8.80 in benefits to society.

“The college naturally helps students achieve their individual potential and develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities they need to have fulfilling and prosperous careers,” the report states. “However, SC4 impacts St. Clair County beyond influencing the lives of students. The college’s program offerings supply employers with workers to make their businesses more productive. The college, its day-to-day operations, its construction activities, and the expenditures of its students support the county economy through the output and employment generated by county vendors. The benefits created by the college extend as far as the state treasury in terms of the increased tax receipts and decreased public sector costs generated by students across the state.”

The study showed that in FY 2020-21, operations, construction and student spending of SC4, together with the enhanced productivity of its alumni, generated $137.7 million in added income for the St. Clair County economy— equal to approximately 2.3 percent of the total gross regional product (GRP) of St. Clair County. 2,041 jobs exist in the county because of the economic impact of SC4.

SC4 students, both drawn to and retained in the area because of the college, added $855,200 to the regional economy. The impact of SC4 alumni, including thousands employed in St. Clair County, amounted to $112.9 million in added income for the St. Clair County economy.

Michigan’s community colleges enroll nearly the same amount of students as Michigan’s public four-year colleges and universities. Historically, community colleges such as SC4 offer more affordable tuition, quality programs, enhanced personalized attention and support, flexible options and seamless transfer pathways.

SC4 alumni honor parents, support future generations with scholarships and grants

St. Clair County Community College (SC4) alumni Martha Foley and Dan Fredendall recently created the Therese A. Foley Student Assistance Fund and the Eileen M. and Lawrence D. Fredendall Scholarship Fund—as well as provided grants for the Challenger Learning Center at SC4 and other student support initiatives—to honor the lives and legacies of their parents.

“They were all such strong, selfless and caring role models,” said Martha, who met Dan at SC4 before they both transferred to Michigan State University. “They were committed to advancing the well-being of others within the Blue Water area. These scholarships and grants honor their work and ‘pay-it-forward’ commitment to others.”

Martha’s mother, Therese, was the youngest of 11 children from the east side of Detroit, who became a devoted mother of six, a registered nurse, and an environmental and public health activist, finishing her career as a clinical nursing instructor at SC4. Her father, Maurice was altruistic and driven, attended Assumption College in Windsor, Ontario after high school, served in the Navy during WWII, then finished his bachelor’s degree from Assumption after the war. After early jobs in the Fenton area, Maurice started working as a teacher. He taught middle school mathematics in Detroit and Port Huron schools for almost 35 years, served as supervisor of Fort Gratiot Township for eight years in the 1980s, and was active in the Society of St Vincent de Paul for decades.

Eileen Fredendall, born in Port Huron, was a committed mother of nine, a registered nurse and a community volunteer. Dan’s father, Lawrence, came to Port Huron from Iowa after high school. He served in the Army Air Corps during WWII and was the first in his family line to go to college. After marrying Eileen, he earned an associate degree from Port Huron Junior College (SC4) under the GI Bill while working full time. An entrepreneur, Lawrence owned or managed a variety of businesses and finished his career with Serve-All Appliance. He was most proud of his work with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, including revitalizing the stores in the greater metro Detroit area, and was instrumental in launching the Blue Water Community Food Depot.

Their parents had similar backgrounds and experiences and, unbeknownst to Martha and Dan, they knew each other before Martha and Dan met. Both mothers attended three-year, hospital-based nursing degree programs as United States Cadet Nurse Corps, finishing just after WWII ended. Their fathers were both involved at their parish churches in community outreach and knew each other through their work with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

“They all poured themselves out to others,” Dan said. “Whether that was in the hospital, the classroom, taking someone into their home, or in the community, they gave others the best of themselves, even when it may have been difficult. There was always someone else who needed more and they helped provide it.”

By creating these scholarships and grants through the SC4 Foundation held at the Community Foundation of St. Clair County, Martha and Dan are following in their parents’ footsteps and encouraging future generations to do the same. They both recognize that community college is an important bridge for many students to make the transition between high school graduation and success in a bachelor’s degree at the university level, particularly for a first-generation college student.

The Therese A. Foley Student Assistance Fund and the Eileen M. and Lawrence D. Fredendall Scholarship Fund will be awarded in perpetuity to SC4 students pursuing nursing or a STEM-related program. The grants will support access to missions at the Challenger Learning Center at SC4 as well as potential tuition assistance for disadvantaged students, Skip’s Corner Pantry support, ad hoc student assistance for one-time unanticipated events or housing support.

“We are beyond grateful to Martha and Dan for their generous support,” said Dr. Deborah A. Snyder, SC4 president. “It’s clear Martha and Dan’s parents were incredible individuals and role models for their families and communities. Thanks to their parents’ example, they are now doing the same for a whole new generation of students. The impact of their parents’ lives and work will continue to be felt for years to come.”

Community Foundation Vice President Jackie Hanton added, “Martha and Dan were thoughtful and impact-driven with their major gift. They were able to make a bigger impact on future students because they gifted stock. When appreciated stock is gifted, the donors do not have to pay capital gains tax. It is truly a win-win that will have lasting implications in the lives of so many future students.”

Dan and Martha recently visited SC4’s campus and reflected on their and Therese’s time there.

“That’s the first time we’ve been back to campus in a long time,” Martha said. “Back when Therese taught Nursing at the College, they learned by way of practicing on each other. She would be astonished and thrilled to see the technology and spaces in the Health Sciences Building. It’s an impressive facility.”

For more information, contact the Financial Aid Office at financialaid@sc4.edu or (810) 989-5530.

SC4 seeking employers for Career Fair April 28

The 2022 St. Clair County Community College Career Fair will take place from 2 to 5 p.m. Thursday, April 28. The event will bring hundreds of students, alumni and community members to the SC4 Fieldhouse in search of career opportunities.

The college is partnering with the Blue Water Area Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County, Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works!, the City of Port Huron/McMorran Place and SC4’s TRIO Program for this year’s event, and is currently seeking employers in search of qualified candidates for their open positions.

“The Career Fair is a great opportunity for employers in our region to showcase their company, network with other employers, and above all, find the best candidates from our community’s rich talent pool,” said Bonnie DiNardo, executive director of community and public relations at SC4. Participating employers also have the opportunity to post positions on Career Coach, the college’s online employment system for students and alumni.

The Career Fair is expected to fill to capacity this year — interested employers are encouraged to register as early as possible, but no later than April 14. Employers can find detailed information and convenient online registration at sc4.edu/careerfair.

Cindy Rourke named recipient of SC4 Alumni of the Year award

Well-known community advocate and supporter Cindy Rourke has been named the recipient of the 2020 St. Clair County Community College Alumni of the Year award after a pause in award distribution due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was so surprised to receive the 2020 Alumni of the Year Award,” Rourke said. “It is an honor just to be considered let alone to receive the award.”

Rourke enrolled as a student at SC4 in 1968, as did her husband of 38 years, Jim Rourke, and many of her friends and family members.

“For most of us, we were the first in our family to attend college,” Cindy said. “None of our families had much money and we all knew that SC4 would be our stepping stone to the future.  My education at SC4 prepared me for going on to Western Michigan University. I also had great fun there playing euchre in the union and as a work study student in the library. That’s how and why I chose library science as my career path.”

Fortunately for the College and community, Cindy and Jim made their way back from WMU and the University of Michigan to the Port Huron area after receiving their bachelor’s degrees and began work at SC4 and Mueller Brass, respectively.

Cindy served in a variety of library, technology and support-based roles in her 28-year career at SC4, including dean of the Library and the Achievement Center. Among many other notable achievements, Cindy played a key role in the library design when the library was moved from the Clara E. Mackenzie Building to the College Center.

Throughout their professional careers and beyond, both Cindy and Jim believed greatly in SC4’s mission of maximizing student success through an accessible, high-quality education at an affordable price.

Cindy and Jim, who passed in November 2015, created the James Rourke Family Education Fund with a $100,000 donation to the SC4 Foundation to provide scholarship support to graduating seniors from St. Clair and Port Huron high schools to attend SC4.

“SC4 is still the best thing going for this area as demonstrated by its longevity in the community,” Cindy said. “It is the same stepping stone for many as it was for me. My husband was always very supportive of SC4 and encouraged his employees at Mueller Brass to attend as well. We decided that it was important to fund scholarships that would enable students to attend SC4.”

Cindy retired from SC4 in 2010 but remains actively involved in the College’s retirement group and within the campus community, as well as with the United Way. Community residents also can see Cindy and Jim’s generous support at McLaren Port Huron, where many SC4 graduates thrive working as healthcare professionals.

“We are thrilled to provide this award to Cindy,” said Dr. Deborah A. Snyder, president of St. Clair County Community College. “Her legacy as an alumna, professional, supporter, advocate and friend of SC4 is remarkable. She and Jim will continue to impact the lives of area residents for years to come and, for that, we are forever grateful.”