Alumni profile: Sen. Mike Nofs on KCC then and now

Editor’s note: The following article was published in July in Kellogg Community College’s Summer 2012 edition of CareerFocus magazine with the headline, “Kellogg Community College then and now.” View the full CareerFocus publication online at or pick up a print copy from the newspaper racks on campus.

A lot has changed at Kellogg Community College and in the world since Senator Mike Nofs graduated from the college’s Criminal Justice Program in 1974. Here are a few differences he noted in a recent interview.

Computer science was new

According to Nofs, the burgeoning field of computer science was the career to get into in the early 1970s, which is why he spent his first year as a member of the college’s Computer Science Program.

Computers back then were much bigger, Nofs said, and taking courses learning early programming languages like Fortran required scheduled time and punch-out data cards to run a program, which could be a tricky process.

“One card being out of place would throw your program off so your program wouldn’t work,” Nofs said. “You didn’t want to drop those cards, I’ll tell you that.”

Campus layout

Nofs said among the differences in the layout at the college’s Battle Creek campus were different locations for the administrative offices, which today are located on the third floor of the Roll Health and Administration Building but used to be located down the hallway, near the pools at the center of campus.

The IT area, where Nofs began his education at KCC as a student in the Computer Science Program, was downstairs in the Roll Building, where the Dental Hygiene Program is based today. The dental hygiene students, meanwhile, were located in the Davidson Center.

“I know that because I used to date one,” Nofs said, laughing.

Additionally, the central hallway that serves as the main artery through campus had a roof but no walls, which made things interesting in inclement weather. (The photo of the walkway above is from the college’s Digital Archives and is dated to the early 1960s.)

KCC had a swim team

Nofs said he swam for KCC during his time as a student, competing in the 200-yard butterfly and the 400-yard individual medley and joining the team at the National Junior College championships.

“I spent a lot of time here at the pool just practicing every day,” Nofs said. “It was great.”

According to Nofs, KCC’s pool also was the only one in that area that offered a 3-meter-high diving board.

“I used to love diving off that thing,” he said. “It was really high.”

Nofs said he would also spend time at the Miller Physical Education Building playing pickup racquetball and basketball games with instructors while on breaks from classes.