SMC names residence halls for Jerdon, WhitePublished 11:08am Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Southwestern Michigan College (SMC) Board of Trustees named two residence halls in honor of longtime college trustees, awarded employee service pins, toured the recently renovated Niles Campus instructional building and conducted other business during a regularly scheduled meeting for August held Monday on the college’s Niles Campus.
Board Chairman Dr. Fred L. Mathews made the motion to name the two previously unnamed residence halls the Thomas F. Jerdon Hall and William M. White Hall, in honor of the two long-time members of the Board of Trustees of Southwestern Michigan College.
According to Chairman Mathews, “SMC is the grateful recipient of more than 40 years of unpaid community service and educational leadership between Tom Jerdon and Bill White. Both of these board members have played key roles in helping to transform SMC into a college that provides students with affordable access to the total college life experience. Dedicating these residence halls in their names is just one way the college can show its appreciation back to them.”
Jerdon, who serves as board treasurer, has been a member of the SMC board since December 1991 and is vice president of Jerdon Real Estate, located in Silver Creek Township. The family-owned firm was established in 1950 by his grandfather, the late Floyd Jerdon Sr. The company specializes in marketing and selling lake and farm properties in the region for more than six decades and is the oldest real estate firm in the area.
Jerdon received his Michigan real estate license in 1982, his real estate broker’s license in 1984 and was a licensed real estate appraiser for 15 years in Michigan.
As a real estate developer, Jerdon has been involved with the construction of new homes and remodeling.
In 1997, Jerdon created Villamere Condominiums, located in Dowagiac, a single-family residential development that currently contains 23 villa homes. Jerdon is a member of the Villamere Board of Directors and is the acting manager of it home owner’s association.
Jerdon is a 1986 graduate of Grand Valley State University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the school’s accredited Seidman College of Business. He is a 1984 Phi Theta Kappa graduate of SMC, and a 1982 honors graduate from Dowagiac Union High School.
Jerdon has served on the St. Joseph-Benton Harbor Chemical Bank Board of Directors, the Board of Directors of the Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council, was the first chairperson of the Dowagiac Dogwood Fine Arts Festival and was treasurer of the Indian Lake Dredge Project Inc. He also serves on the SMC Foundation Board of Directors. Jerdon and his wife, Jodi, who is also an SMC alumnus, have two daughters, Ella and Anna.
White, who serves as board secretary, has been a member of the SMC board since 1992. He is a graduate of Cassopolis High School, where he was an active member of the Future Farmers of America, serving as president of the local chapter and regional vice president of the organization.
White was the recipient of the American Farmer Degree presented by the National Future Farmers of America. He attended SMC and continued his education at Michigan State University.
White is a member of the Cass County Farm Bureau and the Michigan Pork Producers. He is also secretary of the LaPorte County Farm Bureau Cooperative Association Inc., a board member of the United Producers Cooperative (UPC) and serves on the SMC Foundation Board of Directors. He previously served as a member of the Cass County Farm Services Committee and as a board member of 5th 3rd Bank. He has been a member of Porter Baptist Church since 1980, where he has held various leadership roles including serving as a member of the church board.
White and his wife, Susan, have five children and have farmed together for 37 years. They continue to farm in Jones with their two sons and their wives, Jon and Natallie White and Andy and Carrie White, making their operation a fifth-generation family business.
In other business, Dr. Stacy Horner, dean of the Niles Campus, led trustees on a tour of the renovated instructional and student services facilities at the campus.
According to Dr. Horner, “The Student-Centered Active Learning Environment for Undergraduate Programs (SCALE-UP) science labs were based on National Science Foundation funded research on the best way to actively engage students in learning science concepts. Our science faculty are excited about the new laboratories, as they really facilitate the active-learning, hands-on, technology-rich strategies that they are already using. The new labs will facilitate taking this to a whole new level.
“Additionally, the model for faculty-student interaction outside of the classroom was deliberately adopted from our experience in the School of Business on the Dowagiac campus. We found that students and faculty interaction was enhanced by providing deliberate, inviting spaces for this interaction. The new faculty office area here at the Niles Campus opens onto a commons area that we are referring to as the “Student-Faculty Interaction Commons.” We anticipate that this will be as popular here in Niles as the corresponding space is on our Dowagiac Campus.”
“Finally, the new Student Service Center at Niles is an intentional replica of the new facility opened on the Dowagiac campus in early July of this year. The facility in Dowagiac has already transformed the student service experience on that campus, and we are delighted to be able to provide the same thing here at Niles.”