Golden tribute to Linn State extends beyond education

The idea for a technical college began in a basement room with one instructor for a single program in electronics.

Today, Linn State Technical College is a campus serving more than 1,000 students through more than 35 programs.

The school will celebrate its 50th anniversary during a Founders Day celebration at 4 p.m., Aug. 31, in the Information Technology Center Rotunda on the Linn campus.

The administrators, faculty, students and alumni — as well as the Linn community and the numerous businesses that employ Linn State graduates — have much to celebrate.

The school traces its modest beginning to Thurman Willett, a former Linn R-II superintendent who envisioned a technical school as an option for high school graduates.

Willett secured a $7,500 grant through the National Defense Education Act and opened Linn Technical Junior College in 1961.

Within a year, with assistance from private donations, a building was constructed, two programs were added and enrollment increased to 85.

Throughout the years, the school has witnessed dramatic change as methods of instruction have adapted to advancements in technology.

Those years also have been marked by steady growth, not only for the school, but for the entire community.

A 2008 study estimated the economic impact from Linn State’s operations, student spending and past student productivity at $36.2 million in Osage County and $146.7 million in Missouri.

Dr. Donald Claycomb, the college’s president since 1993, said throughout years of growth and change, “our mission remains the same — to assist in preparing students for future employment.”

The school serves a vital purpose for everyone, educating the men and women who repair and maintain automobiles and airplanes, install and service home heating and cooling systems, and operate the heavy equipment to construct buildings and infrastructure.

As the golden anniversary celebration nears, we join in congratulating Linn State Technical College. The school’s contributions extend beyond education to the safety, comfort and convenience their graduates provide.

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