MCC Greenville building to be named after Braman family


By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 10:39 pm on Friday, April 05, 2013

The new building at Montcalm Community College’s Greenville Campus has been named the Bill Braman Family Center for Education. The building will officially open on April 25. — Daily News/Kelli Ameling

GREENVILLE — A new building at Montcalm Community College’s Greenville campus is being named after a local family.

The building has officially been named the Bill Braman Family Center for Education for Braman, who was the lead donor in MCC’s Creating Futures, Strengthening Partnerships capital campaign.

Braman, who served as a MCC trustee from 1967 to 1974, told college administrators he is pleased to support higher education through the campaign.

“I’ve always felt that education provides a foundation for a strong community,” he said.

According to information provided by MCC, Braman was born and raised in Grand Rapids on his family’s fruit farm. He moved to Belding to a brother’s orchard in 1947, which he later bought.

Braman is known as a pioneer in the fruit-packing industry and founded Belding Fruit Storage in 1958. Although he is now retired, the business continues today as BelleHarvest Sales, which is owned by Belding Fruit Storage Co. and continues to expand. BelleHarvest is one of the largest fresh-apple marketers in the eastern United States. Braman was president and CEO of both companies for the first 25 years of his retirement.

Braman said MCC has provided many opportunities throughout the year for his family and friends.

“My five children have all been involved in helping people in one way or another during their careers,” Braman said. “Because I love them very much, I wanted them all included with the Braman name.”

MCC President Robert Ferrentino said Braman has shown his commitment to the college throughout the years.

“We are fortunate to have a partner like Bill who has consistently demonstrated his commitment to our community through his philanthropic support of a variety of projects to enhance opportunities for all citizens,” Ferrentino said.

The Braman building will have a grand opening on April 25. It is a 17,095-square-foot building featuring a technology lab, flexible classrooms, computer stations, a wireless high-speed Internet connection and “inviting spaces,” designed to increase its health-related training options, renewable energy studies, cultural enrichment offerings, access to university-level courses and other activities.

According to Ferrentino, it was important to expand in Greenville to offer improved access to higher education for all learners.

“The college is focused on future-oriented curriculum based in advanced learning facilities,” Ferrentino said. “The new building will allow MCC to increase its health-related training options, renewable energy studies, cultural enrichment offerings, access to university-level courses and other activities.”

The reason MCC is focusing on this kind of learning is because the workplace is changing requiring different level of knowledge and skills.

“The rapid evolution of advanced manufacturing techniques, the increasing sophistication in health care, the ever-growing need for lifelong learning and the anticipated growth of alternative and renewable energy technologies require locally relevant action,” Ferrentino said. “The vision of the campus is taking shape as a result of collaborative work among the college, K-12 school districts, health care providers, business and industry, local government unites and area universities.”

Ferrentino said more naming opportunities are available for the Greenville location and are based on the level of financial giving.

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