Tuesday, February 21, 2023

The Kitchenmaster family supports MCC’s ‘Transforming Lives, Empowering People’ campaign

A longtime Stanton family has pledged their support to Montcalm Community College’s “Transforming Lives, Empowering People” major gifts campaign.

Lou and Joyce Kitchenmaster and their daughters, Anne and Erin, have sponsored the Kitchenmaster Family Open Lounge in the newly renovated Kenneth J. Smith Instructional Building on MCC’s Sidney campus. This area offers an inviting environment for students to gather and collaborate.

The “Transforming Lives, Empowering People” campaign is designed to allocate $7 million to the building renovation as well as developing programs to help students gain access and be successful at MCC.

Now semi-retired, Joyce and Lou spent most of their careers working in the Central Montcalm Public Schools district. Joyce also served as a part-time instructor at Montcalm Community College. With their daughter, Anne, they currently own and operate  the Kitchenmaster Agency, offering school employees Meemic Insurance products and professional service for clients in Ionia, Isabella, Montcalm and Kent counties.

Joyce said their years of teaching and observing students in various classroom settings only strengthened their belief that education changes lives. This is one of the many reasons they chose to support the college’s campaign.

When I was younger, I didn’t think much of a community college until I came to MCC and saw some of those kids and what they were going through. I just did a 180,” she said. “I saw the students and the situations they were in, and then the support of the instructors and how devoted they were to their students, and it changed my thoughts.”

Joyce, who also serves as secretary of the MCC Board of Trustees, said that still is true.

“Our instructors help everyone. There is so much support for our students and people just go out of their way to help them be successful,” she said. “It’s really life-changing.”

Anne and Erin agree, and said their personal experiences at MCC helped shape their lives.

“I feel like a lot of people don’t have the opportunity or financial resources to go to college. They may not have the grades or just can’t afford it,” Anne said. “Community college is realistic. For many students, I think it’s less intimidating than a university.”

At age 16, Anne dual-enrolled while she was in high school “just to dip my toe in.”

She said she liked the college environment more than high school.

“I felt like I had more independence. It was just a better, more challenging learning environment for me. It was a nice mix of social interactions and learning,” she said.

Erin said, “MCC created an opportunity with a wonderful environment for me to achieve an associate degree in nursing, beginning as a dual enrolled student while I was in high school. My instructors were awesome and helpful in projects and nursing clinicals.”

During the two years she attended MCC, Erin said she appreciated the friendly atmosphere and knowledgeable instructors.

“I loved the intimate size of MCC,” she said. “The valuable education I received at MCC and the convenient location aided in my success.”

MCC Foundation Executive Director Lisa Lund said this gift is a generous demonstration of the commitment by the Kitchenmaster family to support high-quality education in our community.

“Investments like this positively impact our community and region for years to come,” she said.

The “Transforming Lives, Empowering People” campaign includes six major initiatives that will enhance and expand student access, MCC’s Sidney campus and positively impact our community.

The lead initiative is a $5 million renovation of the Kenneth J. Smith Instructional Building, which opened in January. The Smith Building is a major campus destination as it holds more than half of the college’s Sidney campus classroom space, its flagship nursing program, and courses in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

In addition to the Smith Building renovation, other campaign initiatives include:

  • $500,000 toward a STEM Program Development and Technology Fund for equipment, technology and curriculum to support teaching and learning.
  • $500,000 toward First-Generation Scholarships to benefit students who are the first in their family to go to college.
  • $250,000 toward Mid-Career Scholarships to benefit middle-income students who do not qualify for financial aid, but also do not have the means to pay cash for college.
  • $450,000 toward Program-Specific Scholarships to benefit students in specific program pathways.
  • $300,000 toward the MCC Express Conductor Program to provide a point of contact (conductor) to work with students from their first point of contact with the college to the time they enter classes and throughout their time at MCC.

For more information, visit or contact MCCF Executive Director Lisa Lund at or 989-328-1284


Media contact:
Shelly Springborn
Director of Communications and Public Relations