1960s

  • Oct. 8, 1966

    It's a College!

    The college is established. Citizens of 10 area high school districts voted to create a Class I Junior College in Kankakee, Illinois. The referendum provided for an 18 cent tax rate for operational expenses for the college. In October 1967 the college received its official name, Kankakee Community College.

    Photo: College board members and Ilinois governor; L-R Mrs. Mary Frazer, Dr. Robert Zimmer, Gov. Sam Shapiro, Ralph Francis, Merlin Karlock.

  • April 22, 1968

    Instructors hired

    A year and a half after it was established, the first three instructors were hired by the college. The board of trustees appointed:

    • Glenn Isaacs of DeKalb, physical education director and head basketball coach
    • William B. Sanders of San Francisco, sociology
    • Charles A. Swannell of Bedford, Ind., English

    Photo: Glenn Isaacs, Jr., Physical Education director and college coach.

  • May 16, 1968

    Dig it. West Campus Groundbreaking

    In 1967, 177 acres of land were purchased for the site of the new college. A total cost of $395,000, or $2,231 per acre, was determined by impartial appraisers. The state paid the majority of the cost, making much of the deal a transfer of land. The actual local cost was $98,750. The transfer of land required the signature of Gov. Otto Kerner. (Source: Kankakee Daily Journal, July 18, 1967)

    The following May, a groundbreaking was held to construct six temporary barrack-type, aluminum-framed buildings on the campus, west of the location planned for the permanent buildings. Although intended to be temporary, the West Campus buildings served the college well, and took on a number of uses. Four of them are still in use, as renewable energy labs, for the Horticulture Program, the Northeastern Illinois Area Agency on Aging and for KCC storage.

    Phase I of construction of the permanent facility was completed in 1972. Phase II was finished a year later. They included a three-story main building, two-story vocational building, more than 60 classrooms and laboratories, a bookstore, college center, auditorium, offices and library (then called "Learning Resource Center").

    Photo: West campus groundbreaking ceremony: L-R Ralph Francis, Chairman KCC Board of Trustees: Chris Bauch, Momence H.S. Senior; Dr. Robert S. Zimmer, KCC President; Forest Clatterbuck, President of Kankakee & Iroquois County Buiilding Trades Council, Stanley Smith, prinicpal Grant Park H. S. May 16 1968.

  • Sept. 23, 1968

    Opening Day! Classes begin

    It’s official: the college is a hit. When the doors opened, 198 students were enrolled in 30 credit classes. The continuing education division had a few more people, with 263 students registered for 94 adult continuing education classes. The college had an original faculty team of 13 instructors.

    Photo: Students on opening day Sept. 23, 1968.

  • February 1969

    KCC Foundation established

    The Board of Trustees passed a resolution establishing the KCC Foundation to provide financial and other support for the college and its activities. It is established as the sole official fundraising and private gift-receiving agency for the college. The first donation was $60, made by Donald Zeglis, who served as KCC’s legal counsel.

    Today, more than $200,000 in scholarships is awarded to KCC students annually and the Foundation’s current assets are $5.6 million. In addition to student scholarships and grants, the Foundation supports student clubs and funds some college equipment purchases. Through gifts from KCC employees, the Foundation also provides student success initiatives.

    Photo: KCC Foundation's ice cream booth at Pop's Concert July 1987; Rick Manuel on the right.