50 Years of Women’s Voices: Oral Histories of Moraine Valley

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.

50 Years of Women’s Voices: Oral Histories of Moraine Valley

The audio of this discussion is available below:

From the Archives: Women’s History at Moraine Valley

Members of the Glacier Gals present doll house to hospital (left to right: Jackie Baker, Norma Allan, Penn Berrens, Lucille Glonek, and Shirley Lawrisak)

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.

Article from The Reporter, a local newspaper, on September 2, 1971: Glacier Gals Donate Doll House To Hospital

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.

First page of the Glacier Gals 1971-1972 yearbook

From the Archives: Founders Day


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.

Sample ballot for the referendum that established the college

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.”

Former logo of Moraine Valley Community College

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:

For more information on the history of Moraine Valley Community College, visit the College Archives website at http://ext.morainevalley.edu/collegearchives/.