Historic time capsule unearthed at Free College Day

Washtenaw Community College celebrates its 50th year opening its doors


A group of workers prepare to pull the time capsule from its tomb.

President Rose Bellanca, Richard Landau, board chair, and former administrator James Anderson look on as a group of workers prepare to reveal the time capsule. Gray Bancroft | Washtenaw Voice




Everyone was huddled in front of the Morris Lawrence building as they waited. Staff and faculty played cover songs ranging from the 60s through the 80s, with history instructor Thornton Perkins playing bass and Dean of Diversity and Inclusion Arnett Chisholm playing the drums.

Former and present board members, faculty and alumni visited campus once again as Richard Landau, board of trustees chair; President Rose Bellanca; and former board member Tony Procassini opened a time capsule buried 25 years ago. Procassini was one of the original board members who helped bury the capsule in 1990.

“It’s a true honor. We’re very lucky to have some of the members that buried the capsule return, and I am excited to bury the next one in October in 2016,” Bellanca said. “I can only hope to also have the opportunity to return in 25 years to witness it open again.”

After speeches and introductions, WCC workers assisted in unearthing the metal vault buried beneath the marbled tile in front of the ML building. Then there was silence as the box was placed on a near table. Excitement echoed through every present board member, alumni, student and faculty member as it was opened.

“Does anyone have a VHS player?” Laughter erupted from the attendees as Landau held up a VHS tape from the time capsule.

A few of the contents included budget reports and class catalogs from WCC’s earlier days. Many old black and white pictures gave insight as to what campus looked like more than two decades ago, and a blueprint map of the school from that time showed the growth of WCC.

“This is very similar, if not better than the original vision for what the school would look like. Times change and I never imagined this vision would become so real so quickly. Time flies,” Procassini said.

On Sept. 26, WCC celebrated its 50th anniversary of being open to the public. A variety of WCC departments showcased their services, and with over 400 participants, people were provided with the opportunity to partake in a wide range of free classes from “Fun with Chemistry” to “Learning to Fly.”

“This is a good way for future students and any students in consideration to get a taste and feel for what our campus is like,” said chemistry instructor Breege Concannon.

Free College Day offered a glimpse into the college’s history – a college that blossomed from a mere thought into one of the top community college institutions. There’s much curiosity from Bellanca about how the school will continue to evolve in the next 25 years. Bellanca says she looks forward to students, faculty and board members coming together in 2016 to bury the next time capsule, to be opened once again at the 75th anniversary.



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