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Nursing was ECC's first vocational technical program

College History

1950 - 1959

  • January 10, 1949: The college is established as part of Public School District U-46 with Charles M. Evans as the first dean.
  • May 1950: The college joins American Association of Junior Colleges.
  • July 1950: Gilbert I. Renner is appointed as dean of the college.
  • December 1959: Renner Hall, ECC's first home is dedicated at 373 East Chicago Street in Elgin.

1960 - 1969

  • June 1962: The college applies for accreditation by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.
  • June 1965: The colleges first vocational/technical program is the state approved two-year nursing program.
  • July 15, 1965: The Illinois General Assembly passes the Junior College Act.
  • Fall 1965: District 509 forms as a Class II Junior College.
  • April 5, 1966: The college applies for Class I Junior College status which is approved by the State Board of Higher Education.
  • April 12, 1966: U-46 Board of Education voted to divest itself of Elgin Community College control.
  • June 4, 1966: First District 509 Board election is held and seven trustees are elected: Robert Hoffer, chair; John Eshelman, sec.; Harry Blizzard; Paul Bolger; Richard Gromer; Joseph McCarthy; and Frieda Simon.
  • April 15, 1967: School District 300 (Dundee, Carpentersville, Algonquin, Hampshire) vote to annex to Elgin Junior College District 509 effective July 1, 1967, more than doubling the original district boundaries.
  • April 1967: Junior College District 509 purchases 100-acre Spartan Drive site from the City of Elgin for $51,050.10 to use for new college campus.
  • March 1968: North Central Association accredits the college.
  • May 1968: Illinois Board of Higher Education approves building project for new campus.
  • December 24, 1968: Groundbreaking for Phase I.
  • November 1969: Elgin Community College becomes a charter member of the new athletic Skyway Conference.

1970 - 1979

  • September 1970: College moves into new campus building at 1700 Spartan Drive.
  • December 1970: Elgin Community College opens new gym with basketball game against Waubonsee Community College.
  • 1970: The Resources Center is named the Renner Learning Resources Center in honor of President Renner.
  • March 1971: North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools renws accreditation for three years.
  • May 2, 1971: ECC hosts dedication and open house of new campus.
  • September 1, 1971: President Gilbert Renner retires.
  • September 13, 1971: Dr. Robert L. Appel, Jr. EdD, is introduced as second president of Elgin Community College, effective September 27, 1971.
  • September 1972: ECC establishes first joint educational agreement between ECC’s Dental Assisting Program and Waubonsee Community College's Automotive Program.
  • April 24, 1973: The Board of Trustees establishes the Orrin G. Thompson Excellence in Teaching award.
  • July 10, 1973: Junior College District 509 annexes Central Community Unit District No. 301.
  • December 11, 1973: Brian Dardis is certified as the first non-voting student member of the ECC board.
  • January 1974: ECC celebrates The 25th anniversary of the founding of the college.
  • July 30, 1974: North Central Association continues Elgin Community College's accreditation for another five years.
  • August 1, 1974: Junior College District 509 annexes School District 303.
  • January 11, 1975: College name is changed from Junior College District 509 to Community College District 509.
  • April 22, 1975: Preisident Robert L. Appel, Jr., resigns as president of Elgin Community College effective June 30, 1975.
  • October 14, 1975: Mark Hopkins, EdD, becomes third President of Elgin Community College.
  • June 1977: Elgin Community College received a $1 million Advanced Institutional Development Program Grant from the Department of Health, Education and Welfare.
  • January 1979: ECC opens the Industrial Technology Building.
  • January 10, 1979: ECC celebrates 30th anniversary of the founding of the college.
  • April 1979: The North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools renews accreditation renewed for seven years.
  • October 1979: Elgin Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 30th Season with the college.

1980 - 1989

  • August 1981: President Hopkins resigns effective August 1, 1982.
  • March 1982: The college and City of Elgin reach tentative agreement on restoration of a building located in downtown Elgin for a second campus.
  • July 1982: Searle F. Charles, PhD, is appointed fourth president of the college beginning Dec. 14, 1982.
  • January 1983: Fountain Square Campus opens for classes.
  • August 1983: Construction is completed on Fountain Square Campus.
  • December 1983: Renner Hall, ECC’s first official home at 373 East Chicago Street, is torn down.
  • December 1983: The Board of Trustees votes for the first time to voluntarily recognize a union representing college faculty.
  • February 1984: ECC faculty joins the Illinois Federation of Teachers for purposes of collective bargaining.
  • June 1984: The ECC Foundation is established as a not-for-profit organization to provide various means of private, financial support for the advancement of ECC academic programs and support services.
  • November 1984: ECC support staff affiliates with the Illinois Education Association for collective bargaining purposes.
  • 1985: The board votes to establish Trustee Scholarships to provide financial incentives for in-district students who demonstrate academic or leadership potential.
  • March 18, 1986: Area residents vote, by a 3-2 margin, to reject the college’s request for an 8 cent increase in the education tax rate.
  • August 1986: North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools renews accreditation renewed for 10 years, the longest period of time possible.
  • November 1986: Local voters approve a 6 cent increase in the tax rate for the college’s education fund.
  • December 1986: President Charles announces his retirement, effective no later than September 2, 1987.
  • June 23, 1987: Paul R. Heath, EdD, is named the fifth president of the college, with duties beginning September 1, 1987.
  • August 1987: The college enters into a 20-year lease/purchase agreement with the Kane County Public Building Commission to buy ECC’s Fountain Square Campus from the City of Elgin.
  • October 1989: ECC Foundation completes $200,000 "Building a Vision" 40th anniversary enhancement campaign.

1990 - 1999

  • September 1990: Founders Court and Alumni Court are dedicated.
  • October 1990: Kane County Public Building Commission approves $30 million in bonds for the construction of a portion of the new master plan. First phase includes $15 million Visual & Performing Arts Center and gym addition.
  • January 1991: Applied Business Technology Building opens for classes.
  • August 23, 1993: First classes meet in the Visual & Performing Arts Center.
  • January 1994: President Heath announces his retirement effective August 31.
  • July 1994: Roy Flores, PhD, named the sixth president of Elgin Community College with duties beginning August 18.
  • January 1995: First classes meet in the Business Conference Center.
  • December 1995: The Board of Trustees approves an intragovernmental agreement with the City of Elgin allowing the exchange of 25 acres optioned on Randall Road by the college for 45 acres of the front nine of the Spartan Meadows Golf Course. The agreement allowed the city to develop Randall Road and the college to expand its main campus.
  • December 1995: The ECC Foundation successfully completes its $1.5 million capital campaign, "Partners in Excellence and Opportunity".
  • August 1996: ECC becomes the first college in Illinois to begin offering credit classes via the internet.
  • September 1996: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools renews accreditation through 2006.
  • January 13, 1997: Instruction Center opens.
  • August 1997: The college enters into the first of several partnerships with four-year colleges and universities to provide greater and more immediate access to upper level undergraduate offerings and baccalaureate degree completion, allowing for dual admission and/or seamless transfer to four-year schools.
  • April 1998: Dr. Flores resigns as the sixth president of ECC.
  • November 1998: Michael S. Shirley, PhD is named the college’s seventh president.
  • January 1999: Founders' Week commences as the college begins a year-long celebration of its 50th anniversary and names the 'Fabulous 50', former students exemplifying the kind of success envisioned for all ECC students.
  • May 1999: Heritage Day activities include opening of the 1974 time capsule and interment of the 2024 time capsule as the 50th anniversary celebration continues.
  • September 1999: ECC’s first official mascot, Spartacat, is introduced.
  • November 1999: The college purchases the former Elgin Business Forms building on Fleetwood Drive at the northeast corner of campus for use as the Industry Training Center.


  • February 2001: The Elgin Community College Faculty Association stages the first strike in the college’s history.
  • April 2001: By a 2-1 margin, voters approve the college’s $41 million referendum for new buildings and campus renovations to meet the needs of students and the community through 2020.
  • June 2002: ECC wins the Skyway Conference All-Sports Trophy awarded for the first time in school history. The award is given annually to one community college for the most points accumulated for men’s and women’s team play.
  • August 13, 2002: The college celebrates the grand opening of the Industry Training Center (Building O).
  • August 2003: ECC celebrates grand opening of the new Health and Business Technology Center (Building M) and the re-opening of Advanced Technology Center (Building G).
  • August 23, 2004: The Culinary Arts Center (Building I) opens.
  • April 15, 2005: The college officially opens a baseball field, named Spartan Field, at the intersection of Spartan Drive and Renner Drive on the Spartan Drive campus.
  • October 2005: ECC celebrates grand opening of the Spartan Events Center (Building J).
  • March 21, 2006: District 509 voters reject college’s request to increase its education fund tax rate by 5 cents.
  • April 11, 2006: President Michael Shirley announces his retirement effective Dec. 31.
  • November 2006: The college purchases 466 Renner Drive at the northwest corner of campus for general use purposes.
  • January 2, 2007: David Sam, PhD, is announced as eighth president of ECC, effective February 12.
  • May 2008: ECC Board of Trustees votes to freeze tuition at $91 per credit hour for 2008-09 academic year, and ultimately the next three academic years, to provide financial assistance to students attending college during the high unemployment and recession years at the end of this decade and the start of the next.
  • August 15, 2008: ECC celebrates the opening of the extension of Spartan Drive to Randall Road with the official naming of Duffy Drive, a portion of Spartan Drive, named in honor of the college’s longest serving trustee John Duffy and his family.
  • January 2009: ECC begins a year-long celebration of the 60th anniversary of its founding.
  • April 2009: The college is successfully re-accredited by the North Central Association/Higher Learning Commission with no additional follow-ups until academic year 2015-16.
  • April 7, 2009: Voters approve a $178 million bond referendum for the college to build a new academic library and learning center, health careers center and regional public safety training facilities.
  • August 2009: The college purchases 410 Renner Drive at the northwest corner of campus for general classroom and office space.


  • January 29, 2010: The college breaks ground to remodel and renovate former industrial facilities at 410/466 Renner Drive for use as general classroom space (Bldg K).
  • March 11, 2010: Groundbreaking ceremonies are held for the health and life sciences building (Building A) and new new academic library and learning resources center (Building C).
  • June 8, 2010: Spartan Drive reopens after extensive resurfacing and landscaping improvements, connecting at McLean Boulevard and Randall Road.
  • December 2010: ECC stops offering classes and services at Fountain Square Campus.
  • January 26, 2011: ECC hosts the grand opening of the new multipurpose classroom building (Building K).
  • April 5, 2011: Jobe Lounge reopens following significant renovation to create more student-centered space.
  • January 27, 2012: ECC hosts grand opening event for Renner Academic Library and Learning Resources (Building C).
  • March 15, 2012: ECC hosts grand opening event for health and life sciences building (Building A).
  • August 20, 2012: The college debuts new single-letter designations for all buildings and as part of a wayfinding and signage program on campus.
  • November 2012: Achieving the Dream names ECC a Leader College, becoming one of only 66 institutions nationally at the time to earn this significant recognition for its work raising persistence and completion rates and closing achievement gaps.
  • January 2013: ECC receives the Bellwether Award from The Community College Futures Assembly in the Instructional Programs and Services category for its Alliance for College Readiness initiative.
  • July 2013: The National Association of College and Business Officers recognizes ECC with the 2013 Innovation Award for its financial literacy program.
  • January 2014: The Aspen Institute names ECC to the nation’s Top 150 for Community College Excellence list for community college excellence.
  • May 21, 2014: ECC hosts groundbreaking for the Education and Work Center in Hanover Park.
  • August 21, 2014: ECC hosts grand opening event for the Education and Work Center in Hanover Park, which was created through an innovative partnership between multiple government agencies, including Elgin Community College; Harper College; the village of Hanover Park; and Illinois State Representative Fred Crespo (D-Hoffman Estates).
  • October 8, 2014: ECC hosts groundbreaking for the Public Safety Training Center in Burlington, Illinois.
  • October 24, 2014: The Association of Community College Trustees recognizes ECC with the Central Regional Equity Award, which recognize the tremendous contributions made by trustees, equity programs, chief executive officers, faculty members, and professional board staff.
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