Better learning spaces and more campus and academic options for students were among the goals set by Adrian College President Jeffrey Docking when he arrived in 2005.
So far, Docking is well on the way to accomplishing them.
“Adrian College has become a very different school than what it used to be,” he said in a recent interview.
In the last four years, the College has added buildings, academic programs, and multiple sports teams. The enrollment rate also has more than doubled from 860 students in 2005 to the current size of 1,680 students.
With the climbing enrollment, finding enough room to feed all of those students became a priority. In the summer of 2008, Ritchie Marketplace opened a new annex, with seating for an additional 250 students. The new Adrian-Tobias Room inside also provided both dining options for campus events and overflow space, as well as opportunities for the community at large to rent space. With the expansion of Ritchie, students had the option to sit with friends at longer tables.
“Students wanted long tables to sit with friends or their teammates,” Docking said. “It provided more options.”
The College also made some renovations to multiple academic buildings on campus. Rush was transformed from the bookstore into the Center for Communication Arts and the Goldsmith Health Center became the Center for Modern Languages. Some $1 million was spent on science research equipment in Peelle Hall, Docking said. Peelle is also one of the next areas of campus slated for future renovation.
Academically, three Master’s programs have been added in the last four years: exercise science, criminal justice, and accounting. Such programming will allow Adrian to be designated as a university, but Docking said the chance of the name change is not in the near future.
“College has a more family feel, while university feels more impersonal,” he said. “I don’t see us moving there in the future.”
Organized sports like football and baseball always have been popular on campus, but with the addition of the Arrington Ice Arena, five hockey teams, and a synchronized skating team helped attract more students to AC, said athletic director Mike Duffy. He estimates some 180 students alone came for these activities.
“These teams brought kids that wouldn’t have come to Adrian due to lack of ice sports,” Duffy said.
The cheer and dance teams, men’s and women’s lacrosse, and men’s volleyball have also been added in the last four years. Duffy confirmed a women’s club hockey team will be brought to campus in the fall.
The Adrian community has also recognized AC for its efforts. In January, the school received the Comstock Award from the Adrian Area Chamber of Commerce. The Comstock Award recognizes organizations that have had an impact on the economic growth of the community. According to Docking, this represents a “Good Housekeeping” standard.
“This award shows a corporate effort to create a great place,” Docking said.