Lincoln Land Community College is very proud to be celebrating the college’s 50th anniversary. A half century ago this month, the citizens of this area voted our college into existence.
In 1965, the Illinois General Assembly passed the Illinois Junior College Act, which allowed voters to create community college districts. Fifty-one individuals representing high school districts surrounding Springfield formed a study group. After months of research and work, the group recommended the formation of a community college district. On Feb. 23, 1967, voters approved Lincoln Land Junior College District 526. The newly elected Board of Trustees changed the name to Lincoln Land Community College in October 1968. That was the beginning of a thriving community college serving the largest district in the state of Illinois. Lincoln Land’s district covers 4,115 square miles and serves all or part of 15 counties.
In the beginning, twice as many students as were expected showed up on a rainy day to enroll for classes in arts and sciences, vocational and technical courses. The interim campus consisted of six temporary structures (later increasing to 10) on South Sixth Street and was affectionately referred to as “Plywood U.” We have come a long way in 50 years. Today our main campus is located on over 220 acres near Lake Springfield. Additionally, in order to better serve our communities, we are located in Jacksonville, Beardstown, Taylorville, Litchfield, Hillsboro, downtown Springfield, and at the Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport.
With nearly 43,000 graduates, Lincoln Land has personal connections to so many within our community. Many more have taken a class here or there to progress in their career, or just for fun. It is so rewarding for those of us who have been fortunate enough to be a part of this rich history to hear community members talk about the difference the college has made in their lives.
We’re observing Founders’ Day on Saturday, Feb. 18, beginning at 1 p.m. in the Student Union of Menard Hall, and we invite you to come and join us. Speakers will include our first president, Dr. Robert Poorman; a founding faculty member, Bill Craig; along with our current Board Chair Craig Findley; Student Trustee Brandon Lewis and myself. We’ll also recognize a founding trustee, Eldon Greenwood, and our first student, Bill Ames. The outstanding LLCC Big Band will entertain with music of the last five decades. Students from Phi Theta Kappa honor society will open a time capsule buried by their peers 25 years ago, and they’ll fill a new capsule with contemporary items. It will be interesting to see students’ choices from the 1990s compared to today!
After the ceremony, an exhibit of historic photos and artifacts will open in the James S. Murray Gallery. We will also debut the brand new book, “50 Forward! The First 50 Years of Lincoln Land Community College,” by Dr. Betty Workman, a former English instructor and administrator at LLCC. This book, filled with hundreds of photos, will be available for purchase along with other 50th anniversary items.
You’re also invited to drop in on our Loggers homecoming women’s and men’s basketball games that afternoon. During halftime of the men’s game (approximately 3:30 p.m.) we’ll announce the 2017 inductees into the LLCC Athletic Hall of Fame.
As the sixth president of this 50-year-old institution, I can assure you that the vision of our founding trustees remains intact: “to provide district residents with quality educational programs and services that are accessible, affordable and responsive to individual and community needs.” LLCC is a strong institution that will continue to add great value to our communities. It is with pride that we pause to celebrate, and hope you will join us.