Happy Birthday to FSM?s National College

The birthday party for the 25th anniversary is over. It was celebrated on Pohnpei for nearly the full week after Easter. Photos have been posted, good wishes exchanged, and the convocation and gala dinner are a happy memory now. All that remains now is to move forward step by step to achieve the dreams that were shared at the birthday celebration.

The College of Micronesia, FSM represents the latest generation in a line of post-secondary institutions over the years. First there was MTEC, founded to train teachers for the Trust Territory in 1963. This, in turn, begat the Community College of Micronesia, which was opened on Pohnpei in 1971. From that was born COM-FSM, which was immediately christened the national college of FSM.

(For more on its history, click to my article for the special anniversary booklet. If you wish to punish yourself further and listen to may talk at the celebration, click here.)

The college has been asked to do many things even during its short history?it is expected to train teachers, while providing certificates for job training in everything from office management to auto repair to medical care. But above all, it has become the go-to college for a country that is hungry for educational opportunities for its young people. Its dedicated faculty and staff have guided it through the past, but they will have to do much more of the same in the years to come as the institution moves toward becoming a full four-year college. This direction is inevitable as the cost of a college education in the US continues to soar.

So, happy birthday, COM-FSM. Chart your new directions boldly, knowing that they will be critical in guiding the nation into the future.

Let?s also remember Joe Daisy, president of the college, who missed the celebration. He is back home in the US with his wife who is given only a few weeks to live.

Three members of the board of the Friends of COM-FSM: Mike Rota, Floyd Takeuchi and me.


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About the author

Francis X. Hezel, SJ
Francis X. Hezel, SJ

Francis X. Hezel, SJ, is a Jesuit priest who has lived and worked in Micronesia since 1963. At different times he has served as high school teacher, school administrator, pastor, and regional superior to the Jesuits of Micronesia. He spent thirty years directing the Micronesian Seminar, a non-profit, non-governmental organization based in Pohnpei, Micronesia. He has written and spoken widely about social change and its impact on island societies. He has also written several books on Micronesian history, including The First Taint of Civilization, Strangers in Their Own Land, and The New Shape of Old Island Cultures. His most recent book, Making Sense of Micronesia: The Logic of Pacific Island Culture, is available through University of Hawaii Press.