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ICC Launches Full Tuition Presidential Scholarship

Itasca Community College (ICC) has announced a full-tuition Presidential Scholarship directed at high-achieving high school seniors. In addition, the college is waiving all application fees during the month of October as part of Minnesota’s College Knowledge Month.

The Itasca Community College Foundation is partnering with the college to provide this new exciting scholarship opportunity for high academic achieving students. It complements the college’s long track record of preparing students for successful transfer and graduation in challenging fields such as engineering, education, natural resources, psychology/human services, and healthcare, in addition to students completing their general education core courses via the Associate of Arts degree.

As Enrollment Director Bill Marshall explains, “High-achieving students sometimes feel the pressure from their peers, parents, and teachers to attend top universities and elite colleges; but those who choose to stay local and start at Itasca have overwhelmingly positive experiences, and look back at their decision as a smart one financially and personally. By offering full tuition scholarships to these dedicated and talented students, we hope to encourage them to consider Itasca as a smart choice amongst their college options.”

High school seniors with ACT composite scores of 29+, who are either in the top 10% of their class, or have a GPA of 3.80 or higher can apply for the Presidential Scholarship, which is renewable for a second year. Students who are not eligible for the Presidential Scholarship will have the opportunity to apply for approximately 140 ICC Foundation Scholarships next February, and students from the area with financial need can receive additional grant funds from the Blandin Foundation. ICC is consistently ranked among top colleges in Minnesota for percentage of students who receive gift aid.

ICC Provost Dr. Bart Johnson spoke to the broader value of the scholarship to the community, “A majority of community college graduates ultimately work in the local area. A major factor is the relationships and professional connections they build during their time at the college and in the community. This scholarship allows some of the more academically gifted students to experience that, with a scholarship opportunity that is typically more prevalent at a four-year university.”

Provost Johnson also stated, “October is the best month to apply to Itasca Community College as there is no application fee, all month long. In fact, most of the colleges and universities of the Minnesota State system are waiving application fees for College Knowledge Month.”

The application for admission and the Presidential Scholarship application are both available online at The first priority deadline for the Presidential Scholarship is Dec. 2. Questions can be directed to Itasca’s Director of Enrollment Services, Bill Marshall at 218-322-2340 or

Source: Grand Rapids Herald Review

Itasca Waives Application Fees Full Month of October

ST. PAUL, Minn., Sept. 30, 2019 – In recognition of October’s College Knowledge Month, students exploring their higher education options can submit an application for admission to any of the 30 colleges or seven universities of Minnesota State without paying an application fee.

“The colleges and universities of Minnesota State offer a transformational education, and are the most affordable and accessible options in the state,” said Devinder Malhotra, chancellor of Minnesota State. “I encourage everyone who is considering higher education to take advantage of College Knowledge Month to fully explore the many opportunities available in Minnesota and take the first steps towards a brighter future for themselves and for their families.”

Most Minnesota State colleges and universities are waiving application fees for the full month of October. Some, denoted in the list below with an asterisk, are waiving fees from Oct. 28 – Nov. 1 only. Colleges and universities that never charge a fee are denoted in the list below with two asterisks. Application fees for qualified low-income students and active duty military service members deployed overseas can always be waived at every Minnesota State college and university.

If prompted for a promo code, applicants should use “CKM2019.”

For more information, contact any of the Minnesota State colleges or universities, or visit


  • Alexandria Technical and Community College
  • Anoka Technical College**
  • Anoka-Ramsey Community College**
  • Central Lakes College**
  • Century College*
  • Dakota County Technical College*
  • Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College
  • Hennepin Technical College
  • Hibbing Community College
  • Inver Hills Community College*
  • Itasca Community College
  • Lake Superior College
  • Mesabi Range College
  • Minneapolis College*
  • Minnesota State College Southeast
  • Minnesota State Community and Technical College
  • Minnesota West Community and Technical College
  • Normandale Community College*
  • North Hennepin Community College
  • Northland Community and Technical College**
  • Northwest Technical College
  • Pine Technical and Community College**
  • Rainy River Community College
  • Ridgewater College**
  • Riverland Community College**
  • Rochester Community and Technical College**
  • St. Cloud Technical and Community College
  • Saint Paul College**
  • South Central College**
  • Vermilion Community College


  • Bemidji State University
  • Metropolitan State University**
  • Minnesota State University, Mankato
  • Minnesota State University Moorhead
  • Southwest Minnesota State University
  • St. Cloud State University
  • Winona State University

* Colleges and universities waiving fees for week of Oct. 28 to Nov. 1

** Colleges and universities that never charge an application fee

Itasca Ranked Nationally for Transfer Success

Itasca Community College has been ranked near the top nationally in community college student success. Itasca's students successfully complete degrees and transfer to 4-year institutions at a higher rate than the national average.

The website Student Loan Hero explains the rankings as follows:

There’s no debating the fact that community college tuition is significantly lower than that of public and private four-year universities.

The question is whether some two-year institutions are better than others at preparing their students to pursue bachelor’s or advanced degrees elsewhere.

To determine which of our pool of 513 community and junior college across the country do it best, we focused on two key factors: graduation rates and transfer rates. Schools that topped our list were those which awarded more diplomas — or saw more transfers to a four-year university — within a student’s first three years of study.

Minnesota community colleges outperform:

A key finding of the comparison: "Students in Minnesota who want to save money by starting off in community college are in luck: 7 of the 50 best community colleges on our list are in this state."

Attend Itasca:

Itasca Community College is now taking applications for Spring 2020, Summer 2020 and Fall 2020.

Apply to Itasca

Vikings Football Lives-up to Hype

Pre-season Eastern Division No. 1 Itasca Community College lived up to it's billing in Week One, pitching a shutout in a 26-0 win over Minnesota West CTC.

The Vikings rolled to 403 yards of total offense, including 226 yards in the air. They also registered eight sacks as a team. Minnesota West registered five sacks defensively; Blue Jay quarterbacks were 19-of-35 combined for 234 yards in the air.

Itasca Community College: Cameron Strapp had ten total tackles vs. MnWest, including four sacks for 19 yards in loss yardage. Eight of his tackles were solo; teammate Tavian Edwards also had 8 solo stops among his team high 12 tackles- Edwards also notched a fumble recovery and a sack. ICC quarterback Javon McInniswas 9-of-11 for 218 yards, two TD's and no INT's. He had a 98 yard completion to Antwan Davis; Jamari Scott hauled in three catches for 54 yards . Rikishi Buchananhad a 15 yard interception return.

Minnesota West CTC: Andrew Ortiz was 15-of-27 for 195 yards, with a longest completion of 63 yards. Montrez Hearon tallied six catches for 128 yards, averaging 21.3 yards a catch. He also had a pair of kickoff returns for 43 total yards. Defensively, Dashawn Harlan and Xavier James led the Blue Jays with 8 and 6 tackles respectively, each had a sack on the day. Brandon Vashti had two sacks for MnWest among his three stops, along with a fumble recovery.

ICC (1-0 Overall; 0-0 East) travels to M State-Fergus Falls (0-1 Overall; 0-0 West) in Week Two.


Student Center Building Project Launches

Grand Rapids Herald Review

On Thursday, May 9, Itasca Community College will be hosting campus tours and a program unveiling plans for the Beyond the Classroom Capital Campaign Launch. The $4.9 million dollar McMahon Student Center project will make larger and more integrated spaces for the students of ICC to spend time outside of the classroom.

In 2016 ICC English professor Patrick Matthias assigned students to write proposals to campus administration with the prompt, “what would make your experience here at ICC better?” Multiple groups of students independent of one another drafted proposals stating a need for a student center: simply, a place to be.

“Students had a chance to revise [their proposals with feedback from the administration],” says Matthias in an online video for the campaign. “[The administration] said ‘this is something we’d like to do.’”

“Everyone at Itasca Community College is proud of our warm, welcoming environment, and this will be the space [that embodies that,]” said Susan Lynch, Foundation Director of the Itasca Community College Foundation. “The vision is a place for students to develop a sense of community. ... If students are not in a program like engineering or nursing they don’t necessarily get a chance to meet people.”

Currently ICC has no student center on campus and the project aims to reconstruct approximately 5,000 square feet of existing space in the library and media center as well as build 5,000 more square feet of new construction near Davies Hall. New amenities will include ping pong and pool tables, a gaming station, fire place, a coffee shop, a relocated bookstore, and an outdoor equipment rental area for students to rent such things as skis and canoes.

The proposed McMahon Student Center would be the first in several phases to expand and update the college campus.

“We need to raise 4.9 million dollars,” explained Lynch. “We’d like to start construction in December, and it’ll be about a 16-month process to get everything completed. We anticipate the student center will be finished early 2021, and as more funding becomes available Backes Hall would be remodeled to accommodate more office space.”

As of this article, $3.4 million in funds have been raised with contributions from The Blandin Foundation, The ICC Foundation, community members and former alumni, though Lynch notes that the project would not have taken off without the initial contribution of Dr. Jack and Mary Margaret McMahon, whom the proposed student center will be named after.

The financial goal was set after a feasibility study was done to assess the project needs. Renovating preexisting space allowed for the student center to meet projected costs, as well as serving the deeply important function of getting students together in a central location.

“[This plan] repurposes space instead of adding to the footprint; it uses space that is underutilized, and it’s in a location where students have to walk through to get to class!” said Lynch.

In this modern age of technology the common use of cellphones has the negative affect of less social interaction and more solitary behavior among students. A noticeable disconnect among the student body began to emerge over time and a diminishing feeling of community coupled with a lack of space to meet others was impacting students.

“Our scholarship essay question last year was about communicating face-to-face or via technology,” explained Lynch, “And I was saddened by the number of people who said that phones keep them isolated, or that they’ve stopped trying to interact or reach out to other people because every body is on their phones; not paying attention to one another.”

“Itasca County’s population is 2% people of color,” Lynch continued, “And on the college campus it is 21%. These are people of different cultures, and to have a place to come together and learn from one another would benefit us all.”

Lynch went on to say, “I believe this project will improve people’s experiences and it will absolutely serve as a recruitment tool for more students. It will grow our campus and our community.”

Beyond the Classroom Capital Campaign Launch will be held Thursday, May 9, 2019 in Davies Hall at Itasca Community College.
See Facebook Event

Source: Grand Rapids Herald Review

Variety Show a Success!

Grand Rapids Herald Review

Emily Carlson

Students and faculty of Itasca Community College (ICC) gathered together to enjoy each other’s talents at the second annual school variety show Wednesday, April 10 at the Chucker Auditorium. The diverse performances ranged from musical talents to comedy to dance numbers. The Building Bridges Variety Show highlighted the talents of many and brought to light some of the work being done on campus to make connections and increase inclusion.

Sociology teacher Suzanne Starr joined with Student Life Coordinator Kayley Schoonmaker to bring the Building Bridges Variety Show to life. The idea to put on a variety show came to Starr last year as she entered her first year of teaching at ICC.

“I noticed the stage seemed to be a bit ‘dusty,’ and I had a few students who had musical and spoken word gifts who seemed interested in sharing them,” Starr said. “I've spent a lot of time on stage throughout my life, and know how much fun it is, and figured this was something I could help bring to life at ICC.”

The theme of “Building Bridges” was chosen in support of ICC’s dedication to diversity, equity and inclusion.

“This isn't a talent contest, there are no winners,” Starr said. “We're all winners, and this is about sharing gifts and finding wings.”

Student Avery Beyer chose to participate in the show because she liked the theme of building bridges. Beyer sang the song “Riptide” by Vance Joy while playing the ukulele to start the variety show.

“I really like that song. It’s just happy and I thought it might be a good way to start the show off,” Beyer said.

Ariana Aitken, a student at ICC, participated in last year’s variety show and expressed her appreciation for Starr. Aitken performed the song “Read All About” and played the piano. Speaking to Aitken after the show, she said she also enjoyed seeing the different talents of her peers and teachers.

“Yesterday was just so beautiful,” Aitken said. “It was crazy to see everyone in each of their own elements.”

Reflecting the show’s theme, Starr presented a Pan-African flag quilt that was created in February in honor of Black History Month. As the program coordinator for the Associate of Arts (AA) Learning Community on campus, Starr works to bring “enrichment opportunities” to students pursuing their AA degree.

“I am particularly interested in just looking at the human condition and how we educate about that,” Starr said.

The quilt was sewn together with the help of Cindy Hilligoff. The flag features three horizontal stripes in the colors red, black and green. According to the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA), which formally adopted the flag in 1920, the colors of the flag each have their own significance. Red represents “the blood that unites all people of Black African ancestry, and shed for liberation.” Black symbolizes “black people whose existence as a nation though not a nation-state, is affirmed by the existences of the flag.” Finally, green was chosen to portray “the abundant natural wealth of Africa.”

Starr explained the flag “as a symbol and as an acknowledgment to empower and celebrate people with African ancestry.”

Additionally, the quilted flag featured 135 signatures from students on campus that Starr gathered from sitting in the campus cafeteria with the quilt.

“It was a playful way to educate,” Starr said. “It was a chance to educate students and rally students around this idea of this issue of race and racism and to think of it and the reality of people who have lived with oppression and what is something maybe we can do.”

Working around the schedules of busy students and faculty is not an easy task. Starr said that, although it was impossible to plan a full rehearsal with everyone there, everything came together.

“I just encourage people to have fun, and remember, it doesn't have to be perfect. We are sharing love, really, and celebrating the arts and creating some magic together on the stage. The audience will love whatever we bring them,” Starr said. “And of course, life happens, and people cancel. Things like that, you just have to remember why you're doing it and assume it will all fall into place.”

Despite any challenges, Starr was pleased with how the show went and the audience’s response.

“I thought it went just great,” Starr said. “People were laughing and enjoying it. There has been really good feedback.”

Original article by Emily Carlson, Grand Rapids Herald Review

Students holding quilt

Four professors performing skit

Cache the Canine at the Capitol

Itasca's Applied Psychology/Human Services faculty members, Jenny Wettersten and Jackie MacPherson, and their lead canine, Cache, took part in the Minnesota State Day at the Capitol Rotunda in St. Paul. They were selected as one of only eight programs to represent all 37 Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. The event brought together legislators, trustees, presidents, students, faculty, and staff to highlight the importance of Minnesota State’s FY2020-2021 legislative budget request.

Cache and the faculty connected with over 60 legislators and discussed ICC’s Applied Psychology/Human Services program, innovative approaches to teaching and learning they currently use, and upcoming research related to canines in the classroom.

From Provost Dr. Bart Johnson, “This event was a great opportunity to highlight the quality and innovativeness of degree programs at Itasca and in the Northeast Higher Education District (NHED). It also allowed Jenny and Jackie to share with legislators the pressing need for increased legislative support to fund higher education in the Minnesota State system. Re-investment is necessary for the NHED colleges to sustainably meet the educational needs of our region.”

Source: Original article from the Grand Rapids Herald Review

Itasca Qualifies Six Wrestlers for NJCAA Nationals

February 11, 2019 | From The Guillotine

The Itasca wrestling team placed second in the Northern Regional District qualifying six wrestlers to compete at the NJCAA National Tournament. Returning All-American and last year’s regional champion Corey Schmidt claimed another regional title wining at 197 pounds against Rochester’s Morgan Moreno 8-4. Tanner Reetz also claimed his second regional championship uncontested this year at 133 pounds. Claiming second place finishes for the Vikings included 149 pounder Ethan Kiehm, 174-pounder Dalton Bernett, and heavyweight Devin Reynolds. Kiehm dominated in his true-second match against Rashawn Crumpler with a fall in the first period. Bernett also claimed victory in his true-second match with a technical fall in the first period over Northland Community & Technical College’s Thomas Scheett. Reynolds lost his finals match to NCTC’s Andre Baguma by fall near the end of the third period. Cody Sawyer secured a position at the national tournament finishing third by losing to rival Adam Rients of Minnesota West Community & Technical College by fall in the first period for the true-second match. This was the fourth time these two have faced off and are now split 2-2 with each other.

Everyone that competed for the Vikings this past weekend punched their ticket to compete at NJCAA Nationals to be held in Council Bluffs, Iowa on March 1st and 2nd.

2019 NJCAA North Central District Results

Itasca Placers/Qualifiers

133 – Tanner Reetz 1st

149 – Ethan Kiehm 2nd

157 – Cody Sawyer 3rd

174 – Dalton Bernett 2nd

197 – Corey Schmidt 1st

Hwt – Devin Reynolds 2nd

Award-winning author to host movie release at ICC

Kent Nerburn, author of the award-winning novel, Neither Wolf Nor Dog, is coming to Grand Rapids to lead discussions during four screenings of the movie inspired by his book.

Indian Country Today says about the movie, “Neither Wolf Nor Dog” is the story of a well-meaning white writer (Nerburn himself, played by Christopher Sweeney) who is drawn into Native culture when a Lakota elder asks him to turn a box full of notes into a book. The elder — a man named Dan is played by 95-year-old David Bald Eagle — uses the opportunity to poke holes in Nerburn’s — and the audience’s — assumptions about Native people. David Bald Eagle walked on his journey to the spirit world… at age 97, but was able to view the film and said, “It’s the only film I’ve been in about my people that told the truth.”

All screenings of “Neither Wolf Nor Dog” will be in Chucker Auditorium in Davies Hall on the Itasca Community College campus. Admission is free with donations appreciated to go toward building a playground in Ball Club, envisioned by youth in the community. Screenings will include an opening blessing ceremony, the full feature film, and a discussion with local Indigenous leaders hosted by Nerburn. Copies of Nerburn’s books will be available for purchase including the follow-up book to “Neither Wolf Nor Dog,” “The Wolf at Twilight,” which won the Minnesota Book Award in 2010, and “The Girl Who Sang to the Buffalo,” which completed the trilogy in 2013.

On Tuesday, Feb. 19, 6 p.m. at the Grand Rapids Area Public Library, Nerburn will give a talk, “Hidden Joys of a Life in the Arts,” which focuses on his most recent book, “Dancing With the Gods: Reflections on Life and Art,” and how “Neither Wolf Nor Dog,” was adapted for the big screen.

All events made possible by a partnership between the Circle of Healing, Itasca Community College and the Minnesota Department of Corrections with support from the Blandin Foundation.

“Neither Wolf Nor Dog,” is an epic road trip that weaves documentary into a dramatically told story. Set in the vast high plains of the western Dakotas, it tells the story of traveling the back roads through contemporary reservations and sites with historical significance, as the elder, Dan, relates the stories and philosophies that he wants Nerburn to write in a book for him.

In both the book and the film, Nerburn’s philosophy rings true. He says he is always aware of being, “the white man in the room,” and is aware that he does not have the answers to past tragedies. He does want his work to help build a bridge between the two cultures, “a bridge to the common humanity that lies beneath our many differences.”

The American Indian College Fund agrees that he has with “Neither Wolf Nor Dog,” issuing the following statement: “This is one of those rare works that once you’ve read it, you can never look at the world, or at people the same way again. It is quiet and forceful and powerful.”

Nerburn has published 16 books of creative non-fiction that have focused on Native American and American culture as well as general spirituality. It was an earlier work, “To Walk the Red Road: Memories of the Red Lake Ojibwe,” that fascinated Dan and inspired the journey recounted in “Neither Wolf Nor Dog.” “To Walk the Red Road,” a collection of photographs and memories of the Red Lake Ojibwe people was produced by Red Lake High School students with Nerburn’s editorial direction.

The highly acclaimed film was produced and directed by Scottish filmmaker Steven Lewis Simpson who also shares a screenwriting credit. The cast is likewise international. Chief Dave Bald Eagle, at age 95, plays Dan. Chief Dave Bald Eagle was Lakota with many movie credits as both an actor and a stuntman, including Dances with Wolves. The final impassioned speech given by Dan in the film was ad-libbed by Chief Dave telling his own, parallel, story. Christopher Sweeney of Yakima, Wash., plays Nerburn. Richard Ray Whitman of the Muscogee Creek Nation plays Grover. Also starring is Tatanka Means, a professional actor and comedian of Lakota, Omaha, and Dine (Navajo) descent. Roseanne Supernault, a Canadian actress of Metis and Cree descent, plays twin sisters, Danielle and Wenonah. She starred as the title character in Maina, an acclaimed CBC production. Additionally, many recognizable Native American actors are also in the cast.

By Paula Rock For Circle of Healing

Press release from Grand Rapids Herald Review

Listen: Education Career Pathways

Career Pathways: ICC's Bart Johnson and Deer River High School Students
KAXE/KBXE Radio Morning Show

Listen on KAXE

Provost Bart Johnson appeared on the KAXE Morning Show to introduce Jenny Tyler and Neesha Moore, students at Deer River High School who particapated in Education Career Pathways. They spent last fall learning what a career in teaching was like, including spending time student teaching.