Skip to main content

Lifelong learning through LLCC

by James Hall, member, Academy of Lifelong Learning, Lincoln Land Community College
James Hall

This year, 2024, marks the 51st anniversary of my graduation from LLCC in May 1973. LLCC has been a part of my life ever since.

Upon graduation from Nokomis High School, I started at LLCC, majoring in pre-engineering, in 1971 when all the buildings were located at the frontage road near Sixth Street and Interstate 55. LLCC, at the time, was nicknamed “Plywood U” since the buildings were temporary while the main campus was under construction. In my second year, I had several courses at the first building constructed at LLCC, Menard Hall. That year, I took my future wife on a date to a student movie night. 

I went on to graduate from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a degree in civil engineering in 1975. All LLCC courses transferred and provided a firm foundation for my degree. Then, while working at the Illinois Department of Transportation in Springfield, I earned an MBA from Sangamon State University in 1983.

After my MBA, I taught a few business classes at LLCC and realized I enjoyed teaching. This began a journey in a second career. I was awarded a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering in 1999, and in 2000, I joined the faculty in management information systems at the University of Illinois Springfield. I am now an associate professor emeritus and continue to teach on an adjunct basis at UIS.

Teaching is the focus of LLCC, and I had many wonderful teachers. Two I remember vividly.  John Giavaras brought a passion for western history and lectured with vibrancy. He held the students’ attention for even an 8 a.m. class. For political science, adjunct teacher Bob Kustra, future lieutenant governor of Illinois and president of Boise State University, brought tremendous energy through class discussions while adding personal insights and examples of the inner workings of Illinois and federal governments. These individuals imparted teaching examples that I use to this day.  

LLCC was also an important institution for my younger siblings. One brother earned an electronics technician degree, and my sister earned an associate degree in nursing. Two brothers also took the pre-engineering route at LLCC and graduated in mechanical and in electrical engineering at UIUC. Our three sons attended LLCC Summer College for Kids and eventually took LLCC courses along their way to undergraduate degrees.

Over the years, my wife Nancy and I have also taken many community education courses at LLCC including sports and even automotive technology.  

LLCC still is an important part of my life through engagement with the Academy of Lifelong Learning (ALL). True to ALL, my interest in learning has lasted a lifetime. ALL is a 400-plus community of senior learners with multiple interests. Nancy and I have formed strong relationships with fellow ALL members who continue their quest for knowledge. You will not find a more dynamic, cordial and interesting group. I personally have been active in the Scribes (writing your stories) group that Nancy led for many years. I led the History Hunters group for a few years. We have attended many LLCC ALL events, which are always interesting.

LLCC has been a lifelong resource for me and my family and a dynamic resource for our community. I highly recommend that you make use of it.

Call 217-786-2432 or visit Academy of Lifelong Learning to find out more about the multitude of program offerings.