SWIC Photo by Linda Gass-Burgess
Students, faculty, staff, trustees and Foundation board members formed a giant 70 for a photograph commemorating Southwestern Illinois College’s 70th birthday. The photo was part of a big birthday bash organized by College Activities and the SWIC Foundation. Classes were first conducted Sept. 17, 1946, at the former site of Belleville Township High School West on West Main Street in Belleville. There were 183 students, mostly veterans returning from World War II. The college now serves 20,000 students annually and serves the largest student veteran population of all Illinois public institutions. SWIC has three campuses — Belleville, Sam Wolf Granite City and Red Bud — and off-campus sites at Scott Air Force Base and many high schools throughout the district. An online class lineup also allows the college to reach beyond its physical walls to meet students’ needs.
Southwestern Illinois College turned 70 on Sept. 17, and four days later the College Activities office and SWIC Foundation teamed up to throw a birthday bash for students, faculty and staff.
Now that the birthday candles have been lit, happy birthday has been sung and a giant commemorative photo of employees and students has been taken, the college is kicking off a year of events to mark the milestone.
“As with many anniversaries and milestones in life, you take a moment to reflect on how far you’ve come. SWIC is no different,” President Georgia Costello said. “We started in Quonset huts on the grounds of what was then Belleville Township High School West on West Main with 183 students, mostly veterans returning from World War II. Today, we serve 20,000 students annually and proudly serve the largest student veteran population of all Illinois public institutions.”
Over the years, SWIC has moved and expanded its facilities. The college has grown beyond Belleville to facilities in Granite City and Red Bud, plus off-campus sites such as Scott Air Force Base and many in-district high schools.
A robust online class lineup now allows the college to move beyond its physical walls to meet students’ needs, Costello said.
While much has changed, core principles remain the same, Costello said.
“One thing that hasn’t changed is our commitment to student success,” Costello said. “SWIC also proudly continues to offer the best regional value in higher education as we celebrate our seventh decade of service to the community.”
Many activities are planned for the coming academic year to celebrate the college’s 70th birthday.
Events this fall include:
- Oct. 4-31: The Case of the Missing Linger Longer Loo, Schmidt Art Center
- Oct. 14: Manufacturing Day, Sam Wolf Granite City Campus
- Oct. 21: Kashmir Dash, Belleville Campus
- Oct. 28: Trunk or Treat, Belleville Campus
- Nov. 5: Tamburitzans, Granite City High School
- Nov. 16: Holiday Tree Lighting, Belleville Campus
- Nov. 29: Giving Tuesday
The college will announce birthday events at swic.edu.