As part of its 50th Anniversary, Moraine Valley has collected oral histories from the people who have helped make it into the quality institution it is today. Meet some of the women behind those recordings and hear them tell the college’s story through their own experiences. Learn more about the College’s history at the Moraine Valley College Archives.
Women have been instrumental in the growth and success of Moraine Valley Community College since its founding in 1967. In turn, the college has implemented programs and organizations over the years to foster and support women’s education.
An early women’s group at the college was the Glacier Gals. The organization grew to as many as 85 members and was active from 1969 to 1974. Its objectives were to promote friendship among women associated with Moraine Valley, to perform services for the college, and to provide a scholarship fund for a female Moraine Valley student.
In 1971, the Glacier Gals completed construction of a children’s doll house which they donated to Little Company of Mary hospital. In the same year, the women’s group donated $50 worth of books to the school library.
To learn more about women in the history of Moraine Valley, be sure to stop by the library on Wednesday, March 29 at 11 a.m. Dr. Sylvia Jenkins and Dr. Margaret Lehner will be joined by two retired faculty members, Dr. Sharon Fritz and Lenette Staudinger, for a panel discussion, “50 Years of Women’s Voices: Oral Histories of Moraine Valley”. The panel will be moderated by Dr. Linda Brandt, a counselor at Moraine Valley for over 40 years.
This year, Moraine Valley Community College turns 50! February 18th is Founders Day, which commemorates the day in 1967 when residents voted “Yes” to establish a Class 1 junior college district in the Southwest suburbs of Chicago.
So why Moraine Valley? What’s a moraine anyway? A moraine is a geological phenomenon which occurs with the accumulation of glacial debris. The name reflects the landscape in which the college is situated: the place where the Valparaiso and Tinley moraines meet to form a valley. According to a document from the initial planning and development of the college, “The existence of these moraines influenced the direction of flow of the Chicago River… This geological history provides an explanation and background for the natural and distinctly beautiful hills and valleys found in the Palos Hills area where the college will be located.”
The College opened its doors to 1,210 students on September 16th, 1968. Classes were held in leased warehouses on 115th in Alsip. For students who enrolled in classes for the 1968-69 academic year, tuition cost $6.50 per credit hour. Classes were held at the Palos Hills location that we know today the following year, but the first permanent structure, Building A, was not opened until 1972.
Check out the library’s collection for more local history:
Palos Park, by Jeannine Kacmar, the Palos Park Public Library, and the Village of Palos Park
Worth, by Colleen McElroy and the Worth Park District Historical Museum
Alsip, by Patrick E. Kitching and Susan L. Bruesch