Muskegon Community College President Dale K. Nesbary received the 2021 Muskegon BEAT Living Legend Award, presented by the Muskegon-based urban radio station 103.7 The Beat, on Nov. 27 at the VanDyk Mortgage Convention Center in downtown Muskegon.
“He now joins that elite list of individuals whose actions and body of work have impacted our lives forever,” said Paul Billings, the station’s founder and general manager.
The fifth recipient of the award, Nesbary is in his 13th and final year as the MCC president. He will retire this summer. Since he became president, the college has secured over $50 million in funding to support the most ambitious upgrade of its facilities in 50 years. MCC has been also named an Achieving the Dream Leader College, and the best community college in Michigan by BestColleges.com in 2017 and by Intellegent.com in 2021, both rankings based upon standard student success and related metrics.
“I am humbled and honored to have been selected for this award,” said Nesbary. “The Living Legend Award has meaning to me as it recognizes the major impact that Muskegon Community College has had on the economic growth of Muskegon writ large, and that we have done so by lifting our core community and communities of color as well.”
“Moreover, I thank 103.7 WUVS General Manager Paul ‘P.A.’ Billings for showing the way, building media businesses across the country, and supporting education and business opportunities for young people and entrepreneurs.”
Billings said that Living Legend Award was established “to honor those who have impacted our lives forever and whose body of work will impact us even after they have transitioned.” Past recipients include the Late Bishop Nathaniel Wells II, Judge Gregory C. Pittman, the Late Dr. Doris Rucks and Pastor Charles Poole.
In citing President Nesbary’s major contributions, Billings noted, “Without a doubt, making sure our community has the best in education, the latest technology, and a driven staff has impacted all of the students who have attended MCC. Kids now know they don’t have to leave Muskegon to get a first class education.” Billings also recognized the MCC President for his “ability to bring people together, including going against the odds to get the mileage passed.”
Nesbary, who grew up in Twin Lake, MI, and graduated from Reeths-Puffer High School, completed his Ph.D. in Law, Policy and Society at Northeastern University in Boston. He earned a Master of Public Administration degree from Western Michigan University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Michigan State University.
The immediate past chair of the Michigan Community College Association Board of Directors, he chairs the Trinity Health System Michigan Regional Board, and serves on the Lakeshore Advantage Board, as well as numerous other national, state, and local boards. He continues to serve on the Trinity Health System National Chairs and Vice Chairs Committee and the Association of Community Colleges Trustees Awards Committee.
In 2021, he became the first recipient of the Community Foundation for Muskegon County’s Impact Award in recognition of his exceptional work to advance education, foster a dynamic local economy, and promote prosperity for all in Muskegon County.