The Illinois community college system is now 50 years old. State legislators and higher education leaders celebrated this half-century of achievement earlier this week at Joliet Junior College, the state’s first community college.
“The Illinois community college system is not the education of yesterday, but it’s the education of tomorrow,” said Dr. Karen Hunter Anderson, executive director of the Illinois Community College Board. “The system is one of the largest community college system in the country and without question the best system in the world.
Dr. Anderson also presented a proclamation from Governor Bruce Rauner declaring July 15, 2015 through July 15, 2016 as “The Year of the Community College” in honor of the Illinois system’s 50 years of student success.
Since July 15, 1965, when the Illinois Public Community College Act was signed into law, the system has expanded across the state into 39 community college districts and 48 campuses. Illinois community colleges now serve approximately one million people each year.
Illinois Community College Trustees Association President Andrew Bollman commented that “Over the past 50 years, community colleges have strengthened this state and nation by providing workers in all fields of study, from healthcare and law enforcement to alternative forms of energy.
“Our community college graduates have contributed billions to the economy and tax roll. But, most importantly, our graduates have bettered this society with their increased knowledge and responsibility to the community,” said Bollman, a graduate and former student trustee of Sauk Valley Community College in Dixon .