Game-changing dome facility revealed at Adrian College’s State of the College Address

Posted Friday, April 12, 2024
Author: Mickey Alvarado

Adrian College President Jeffrey Docking announced it has been another great year with the 165-year-old institution accumulating an $80 million endowment as of his State of the College Address on Friday, April 5, in the Adrian Tobias Center.

“We’re in great shape, and you should know that in the turbulent times we are in,” Docking said of Adrian College’s financial standing. “Over the last several years of this administration, the endowment has grown from under $20 million dollars to this morning, $80 million.”

He added enrollment has grown from 900 students, roughly 20 years ago, to 1,800 today.

“Our investments in campus, these are the new academic facilities, the science building, the new athletic facilities, all told, all in over the last 20 years, $122 million dollars in improvements,” Docking said.

The title of Docking’s State of the College address was “Framing a Future Imagined.”

Docking also discussed upcoming projects including a new state-of-the-art indoor sports dome to be built and highlighted several initiatives through a series of presentations during the hour-long event.

A highlight video after Docking’s introduction featured many of the College’s accomplishments from the previous year. Highlights included new majors, (Cybersecurity Management, Applied Computing, IT and Database Management, Actuarial Science, Public Health, Artificial Intelligence Certificate and Robotics Curriculum); athletic accomplishments (men’s and women’s hockey, women’s golf, men’s basketball, football, women’s rugby, esports, bass fishing, men’s and women’s wrestling, indoor track); U.S. News & World Report (No. 2 in Best Colleges for Veterans, No. 2 in Most Innovative Schools, No. 3 in Undergraduate Teaching, No. 23 in First-Year Experience); student volunteering (Shop with Local Hero’s, Comstock Park); and building upgrades (Jarvis bathrooms, Ritchie Marketplace, Chapel bathrooms, parking lots).

The first presentation of the afternoon, “Blurring the Boundaries Between High School and College,” was given by Adrian High School Principal Sam Skeels and senior high school student Elaine Gordon.

Docking said that smart, ambitious high school students are ready for college courses and Adrian College is ready to serve those students like few other institutions. Last semester, Adrian College had 86 high school students enrolled for classes. One of those students was Gordon, who over the past four years has accumulated 52 credits.

“Dual enrollment is an opportunity for all students, and they should take hold of it. It offers the opportunity to challenge yourself academically and learn life skills ahead of the game,” Gordon said.

Skeels said he and his colleagues at Adrian High School truly believe in providing their students with every opportunity to succeed and prepare them for the future they envision, and “dual enrollment is definitely a way to get them there.”

“High School students get a taste of the college experience and learn what the expectations will be when they get there,” Skeels said, adding it’s easier now to do dual enrollment than it was in the past without having physical attendance requirements.

“Now, as Dr. Docking stated, with in-person and online options with more curriculum available, we have some students who are taking enough credits to transfer in a semester’s worth, or even a full year’s worth of college, eliminating a whole year once they get past high school,” Skeels said. “Regardless of financial ability or means, students can enroll in classes.”

Through its partnerships, Adrian College currently has 86 dual enrolled high school students who are taking 105 classes. Adrian High School has 35 of those students taking 44 college courses. Dual enrollment students take these courses free of charge as the cost is picked up by the state.

Adrian College’s new head football coach Joe Palka and alumnus Tom Riethmiller (Class of ’79) followed with their presentation, “Game Changer: Adrian College’s New Indoor Facility.”

The indoor turf facility will be used by several athletic programs including football, soccer, lacrosse, rugby, track and field, and be available to the greater Adrian College community.

“With 50 different teams, field space and time is hard to find,” Palka said. “This will not only create more opportunities but will also improve on the success Adrian currently enjoys.”

Palka said being the first institution in Adrian College’s conference to build an indoor turf facility of this nature sets Adrian apart from everyone else and will be a great recruiting tool.

“High school prospects want to go to a place where they can continue to be developed — Adrian is that place,” Palka said.

Riethmiller opened and closed his talk with, “Go Dogs, Let’s Roll!”

“The future looks bright with the new indoor athletic facility, and the future on-campus Adrian College Rugby complex,” he said. “I’m excited to be a part of it!”

Another Adrian College donor, and Board of Trustee member, Hal Craft and Adrian College graduate Haley Entmaa ('20, '21) were featured in the presentation “Reenforcing the Foundation of Greek Housing.”

“We love Greek life at Adrian College for the communities that are built, the friendships that are created, the networks, the philanthropy, the lifelong memories that our students get through Greek life that emanate from all these houses,” Docking said. “The problem that we had was never with the students or advisors, it was with the houses themselves, which were old and run down.”

All of that changed, Docking said, because of one man, 1961 graduate Hal Craft.

“Hal single handedly provided the leadership to upgrade every house,” Docking said.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be up here to share with you what was started 15 years ago,” Craft said, noting the project has been completed and a refurbishing fund was created to cover the costs of yearly improvements.

Docking announced that from that day forth, the Greek office in the Caine Student Center would be known as the Harold D. Craft Office of Greek Life.

Adrian College senior marketing major Emma Pelletier won the annual Creativity Award for her proposal of an Amazon Hub for efficient delivery processing in the Caine Student Center. Pelletier noted that with the rise of online shopping, particularly from sources like Amazon, the current mailroom struggles to manage the influx of packages. She believes by implementing an Amazon Hub specifically for those types of deliveries, students would be able to access their packages promptly, alleviating congestion and delays during peak delivery times.

Pelletier won $1,000 for her innovative idea, and the College will set aside up to $10,000 to implement her Amazon Hub project.

Other presentations included Engineered for Success (Dr. Andrea Milner, Video, Student, David Dell), Beyond the Barracks – the AC ROTC connection (Dr. Tina Claiborne; student, Tyler Durkin), Coding the Future (Dr. Ouali; student, Sam Massnick), and Adrian College’s bond with Special Olympics (Rylea Mougrabi, Ethan McLaughlin, Emma Dalzochio, and many of the Special Olympics athletes).

To watch the entire Adrian College State of the College address and see all the featured presenters and initiatives, visit,

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