The very first Northern Marianas College, according to previous records, was in fact Agnes McPhetres.
Documents obtained by Saipan Tribune prove that McPhetres was in fact the very first president of the lone community college of the CNMI. The revelation came up after the House Judiciary and Governmental Operations Committee led by chair Rep. Ivan A. Blanco (R-Saipan) amended House Speaker Rafael Demapan’s (R-Saipan) House Bill 20-133.
It was believed during the JGO meeting last Tuesday at the Speaker’s Conference Room on Capitol Hill that Catherine J. Porter was the first president of NMC. However, according to official documents, Porter was in fact the first and last president of the Northern Marianas Community College, which was established March 1981.
When the late former U.S. president Gerald Ford signed the Covenant establishing the political union between the CNMI and the U.S., he first appointed Edwin D. Canham as “resident commissioner” for the NMI.
Canham then issued a proclamation establishing the NMCC in August 1976, and was later revoked after a feasibility study and the issuance of Executive Order No. 25 by the first NMI governor Carlos S. Camacho.
EO 25 officially established NMCC within the former Department of Education, which was also under the control and supervision of the Board of Education then, while also mandating the community college to organize and administer all postsecondary programs in the CNMI and the responsibility of seeking accreditation, which was contracted to Bill Kinder of Washington, D.C. to assist Porter, who was then coordinating all postsecondary external programs and training as NMCC dean.
Porter’s position was later changed to NMCC president in 1982 after Kinder and her recommendation to the NMCC board of regents in anticipation of the visit of an accrediting body, which then recommended that NMCC be established by law and that it function under a fully independent board apart from the BOE.
In 1983, the late former governor Pedro P. Tenorio signed into law Public Law 3-43 which established NMC with its own independent Board of Regents, which then immediately initiated the search for the first NMC president, which would eventually be McPhetres late July 1983.
NMC achieved accreditation soon after.
JGO in a previous meeting amended Demapan’s H.B. 20-133 to reflect that McPhetres was not the first president of NMC, which according to the documents, is not factual.
After reaching out to JGO chair Blanco, he confirmed that they adopted to keep the original language that McPhetrers was the first president of NMC, while Porter was the first and last president of NMCC.