Skip to main content

Northwestern Michigan College Archives: Founders

This guide will give you better access to NMC’s Archives.

NMC Presidents

Founding Fathers of NMC

Founding Fathers of NMC. Traverse City Board of Education, 1951.

Northwestern Michigan College was established by these men under the Traverse City Board of Education.

Les Biederman

Cherry Festival Parade, 1975

Les Biederman was the Grand Marshall

Les Biederman was on the Board of Trustees from 1955-1979.  He was Chaiman for 24 years.  Les was considered a founding father of the College. Les Biederman was also a great champion of the Great Lakes Maritime Academy.  He went to Washington to see that NMC had a federal sanction for the academy. His generosity not only included being on the Board of Trustees and actually going to Washington but also included funding for the Biederman building and the clock tower.

Preston Tanis - President

Preston Tanis was President of Northwestern Michigan College from 1951 - 1970.

He was responsible for day-to-day operation of the college as the College Director.

"Preston Tanis had taken the first steps towards formalizing governance... in 1965 Preston called for the creation of a Faculty Council that would be an elected body rather than an appointed body." (taken from NMC The Second Twenty Years 1971-1991, by Al Shumsky)

"Tanis also established the academic divisions."  (taken from NMC The Second Twenty Years 1971-1991, by Al Shumsky)


Les Biederman and cohorts

1959 - (from left to right) Board of Trustees Bill Milliken, Andy Olson, Mark Osterlin, Jack Votey, Julius Sleder, and Les Biederman