In 1966 the citizens of Central Illinois voted to create the district that became Illinois Central College, a public comprehensive community college. Dr. Kenneth L. Edwards became the first college president, and 56 full-time faculty members welcomed 2,486 students representing the 10-county district in the fall of 1967. Temporary buildings on the interim campus housed both classrooms and offices.
The college experienced rapid growth in enrollment and in construction during the 1970s. In “Phase I” of the college’s development, permanent facilities were built on the East Peoria Campus. Enrollment increased to nearly 9,000 students. As a result, a center opened in downtown Peoria to offer academic and business course work. Under “Phase II” of construction, the Library Administration Building and Gymnasium were constructed on the East Peoria Campus. In 1976, Dr. Leon “Bud” Perley was named the college’s second president. Later, the Performing Arts Center and Agricultural and Industrial Technologies Building were completed.
In early 1980, the student population exceeded 15,000. The Peoria downtown location moved to its current home at 115 S.W. Adams, now called the Perley Building. Dr. Thomas K. Thomas became the third president of ICC in 1989.
During the 1990s, ICC continued to expand course work to meet the needs of students. College services were expanded in downtown Peoria to better meet student needs with the addition of the Health and Public Services Building, renamed the Thomas Building in 2001. The addition of the Caterpillar Service Training Building marked increased collaboration among the college, industry and the community. In 2001, Dr. John S. Erwin became the fourth college president. In 2002, ICC offered its first classes at the Peoria Campus (formerly the North Campus), located on North University in Peoria. In 2003, the Gymnasium was named in honor of ICC’s legendary coach Lorene Ramsey, and a Skilled Trades and Manufacturing expansion including the Lee Morgan School of Industrial Technology was made to the Agricultural and Industrial Technologies Building. The Technology Center opened in 2004, and the David R. Leitch Career Center opened in 2006. In 2009, ICC Pekin welcomed its first students. In 2011, the CougarPlex was completed, resulting in a major expansion to the gym and fitness center. In May 2016, the College welcomed Dr. Sheila Quirk-Bailey as its fifth president. In the Spring of 2017, the Peoria Campus was remodeled, and the new Student Center was completed.
Today the ICC district covers 2,322 square miles and serves 38 high schools. In any given semester, the college offers more than 1,900 classes. Since the beginning, ICC has touched more than half a million lives. One out of every four graduating high school students within the District comes to ICC. Every year we award approximately 1,800 certificates and degrees. With each degree or certificate we confer we create a small ripple of change for the better in our world. As our mission says, Through learning, minds change. We believe by changing minds, we can change the world.