Office of the President
As the college’s tenth president, I have the distinct honor of welcoming you on behalf of our board of trustees, faculty, staff, and administration to Illinois Valley Community College. Since 1924, IVCC has proudly earned the reputation of being a high-quality teaching and learning institution.
Although the nation’s first public junior college was established in 1901 with the primary goal being to offer the first two years of postsecondary education to students who would eventually transfer to a senior college or university, it was the Truman Commission on Higher Education in 1947 that recommended “junior” colleges become “community” colleges and serve as active centers of education by responding to the needs of the communities they serve. To that end, IVCC is a comprehensive community college that offers something for everyone: adult basic education, developmental and remedial education, vocational and technical training leading to employment, baccalaureate education for students planning to transfer to a senior college or university, workforce development, and continuing education.
The Truman Commission also concluded that the opportunity to pursue postsecondary education was too often determined by economic factors like family income and the costs associated with living away from home while in college. With that in mind, IVCC’s administration and board of trustees remain mindful of the need to keep tuition and fees affordable while offering student-centered programs and services that are of great value.
There was a time when a high school diploma was the minimum qualification for many relatively high paying jobs, however, that has changed. Two-thirds of today's jobs require postsecondary education. Literacy and numeracy skills are necessary in order to participate in a competitive work environment and complex society.
If your goal is to enroll in college courses with the intent of earning an associate degree and possibly a baccalaureate degree, or earning a professional certificate with a new skill set that will lead to immediate employment, or if you are simply interested in taking courses for pleasure, no place like IVCC can take you so far. Our award-winning faculty and dedicated staff stand ready to assist in helping you achieve your academic and career goals. We are committed to life-long learning.
My hope is that you will take advantage of the wonderful opportunities we have to offer at Illinois Valley Community College. Begin your educational journey with us today and we will do our best to exceed your expectations!
Dr. Jerry Corcoran
Address: 815 N. Orlando Smith Road
Oglesby, IL 61348-9692
Phone: (815) 224-2720
Fax: (815) 224-3033
Web site: www.ivcc.edu
Founded: In 1924 as LaSalle-Peru-Oglesby Junior College;
renamed Illinois Valley Community College in 1966.
Enrollment: 8,000 per year
Faculty: 79 full-time, 126 part-time
Total Employees: 178 full-time; 199 part-time
Service area: IVCC serves approximately 148,800 residents in its 2,000 square mile district, No. 513. The district encompasses most of LaSalle and Putnam counties as well as the majority of Bureau County and small parts of Lee, DeKalb, Grundy, Livingston and Marshall counties.
District 513 High Schools (20): DePue, Earlville, Hall, LaMoille, LaSalle-Peru, Marquette Academy, Mendota, Ottawa, Princeton, Putnam County, St. Bede Academy, Serena, Streator, Woodland, and LaSalle Peru Christian. High schools partially in IVCC’s district are: Bureau Valley, Fieldcrest, Henry-Senachwine, Midland and Seneca.
Locations: Aside from its 425-acre Oglesby campus, IVCC offers day and evening classes at the IVCC Ottawa Center, its downtown satellite site. Night classes are offered at Princeton, LaSalle-Peru, Ottawa, Streator and Mendota high schools and other locations.
Curriculum: IVCC’s comprehensive offerings include Associate in Arts and Associate in Science transfer degrees, Associate in Applied Science (career) degrees designed for employment after two years, and certificate programs enabling students to gain employment in two years or less.Back To Top
Illinois Valley Community College, nestled atop a tree-lined bluff overlooking the Illinois River south of LaSalle-Peru, opened its doors in 1924 as LaSalle-Peru-Oglesby Junior College (LPO JC).
With local residents’ support, on April 24, 1924 the LaSalle-Peru High School Board approved a resolution to create the college and less than five months later LPO JC welcomed 32 freshmen, seven faculty and two administrators.
LPO’s mission was to “... lay the foundations for successful careers in vocational, social, and political fields.” At just $16 per semester, tuition and fees enabled students to bypass four costly semesters at a university far from home.
LPO’s first director, Dr. Thomas J. McCormack, a Princeton University graduate, was recognized as one of the nation’s outstanding educators. IVCC honors his memory each year by nominating top students as “McCormack Scholars.” Dr. McCormack, a scholar to the end, reportedly died with a book in his hands in 1932.
Dr. Frank Jensen, a lifelong advocate for a fully tax-supported, tuition-free community college system in Illinois, served as LPO’s director from 1935 to 1947. Francis Dolan and R. Earl Trobaugh joined the LPO teaching staff in the 1930s and later served as Presidents.
In 1950, the local community raised enough money to send LPO’s football team to the Gold Dust Bowl in Vallejo, California. Though the team lost to California’s Santa Rosa Junior College, the invitation was the athletic highlight of LPO’s first 25 years and the college honored the team in 2002.
On July 1, 1966, the College name was officially changed to Illinois Valley Community College. By the fall of 1968, the college moved to its current pastoral setting in the heart of the district. On October 21, 1967, District 513 voted 10-1 (20,527 “yes” to 2,189 “no”) in favor of an $8.25 million referendum to finance the beginning of IVCC. On September 9, 1968, the first college classes convened in 12 temporary buildings across the river as the new $20 million permanent campus was constructed overlooking the bluff. The permanent campus was dedicated in October 1972.
In May of 1974, Dr. Alfred E. Wisgoski, an LPO alumnus and graduate of Northern Illinois University, was named the college’s seventh President, a position in which he remained for 22 years. Dr. Wisgoski was committed to a comprehensive community college with an open-door policy.
Under Wisgoski’s leadership, partnerships were built to better serve business and industry. These partnerships and new technical programs prompted IBM to identify IVCC as a business partner in preparing manufacturing industries to convert to computer integrated assembly systems. Of the IBM agreement signed in 1988, Wisgoski said, “this agreement guarantees IVCC will offer the very best in high technology training to our students on equipment better than that found in all but a handful of the nation’s community colleges.” IBM donated over $1.2 million in equipment to IVCC, and the college has remained a leader in technology ever since.
Dr. Jean Goodnow, a graduate of the University of Iowa, was named IVCC’s eighth President in April 1996. A master plan for facility renovations, new construction and infrastructure upgrades was developed a year later. In 1998, $4.2 million in Technology Funding Bonds were sold for computer network and telecommunications infrastructure improvements and the provision of hardware and software for a college-wide interactive information system.
During Goodnow’s tenure, the college received in excess of $15 million in grants. Nine new career programs were developed including forensics, one of only five in the nation’s community colleges. To further expand resources, a Development Office was established and the assets of the IVCC Foundation grew from $1.7 million in 1996 to $2.6 million in 2004.
In the fall of 2000, IVCC opened an Ottawa Center at Marquette High School to better serve the students on the east side of the district.
Goodnow left IVCC in 2005 for the presidency at Delta College near Bay City, Mich., and Dr. Charles “Chuck” Novak was appointed interim president. Novak was IVCC’s first director of Continuing Education in the 1970s and was the longtime president at Richland Community College in Decatur.
After a nationwide search, Dr. Larry Huffman, a University of Illinois graduate, was appointed IVCC’s ninth president in 2006. Huffman served as Dean of Student Development at IVCC from 1974 to 1977.
Dr. Huffman resigned in 2007 and Dr. Dave Louis, former president at Kishwaukee Community College, was appointed interim president.
On March 18, 2008 Dr. Jerry Corcoran was appointed IVCC’s 10th president. Since being promoted from Vice President for Business Services and Finance, Corcoran has led several significant initiatives which include:
- Acquiring $22.8 million in state capital development funding for the Community Instructional Center project. The scope of the project included construction of an 80,000 square-foot Peter Miller Community Technology Center, which opened in 2013 as a new location for nine career programs, the Business Training Center, Adult Education, and a one-stop site for all enrollment services such as admissions, financial aid and counseling.
- The new technology center also led to an opportunity to repurpose vacated areas into much-needed student-life space and a beautiful cyber café.
- Leading a $2.1 million capital campaign for Community Technology Center enhancement. A gift of $1 million was made by representatives of the Miller Group Charitable Trust in honor of Peter Miller, Jr. and his son, Pete Miller.
- Announcing an historic partnership with MAG IAS and Caterpillar which resulted in major equipment donations to the College including a new $300,000 vertical machining center and a $600,000 horizontal machining center to be retrofitted with cryogenic technology.
- Constructing the Truck Driver Training Center, the first new building on campus in 29 years.
- Adding 300 parking spaces much closer to the main campus, an ADA-only parking lot near the technology center main entrance, and the repaving of the entire east campus lot.
- Opening the first day- and evening-class satellite center in IVCC’s 94-year history, Ottawa Center. The center has served over 6,000 students.
- Raising $2 million in order to establish an endowment, upgrades to the Dr. Mary Margaret Weeg Cultural Centre, and support new programs and services.
- Launching new programs such as agriculture, cybersecurity and medial assisting.
IVCC continues to prepare students for solid futures and the ever-changing needs of area employers.
For a more detailed history of the college through 1994, see:
IVCC: The First 70 Years by Elizabeth Cummings and Bill Danley.