College of DuPage History

On Sept. 25, 1967, College of DuPage opened under the leadership of President Rodney K. Berg and Board of Trustees Chairman George L. Seaton. Classes were held in office trailers and at leased suburban sites throughout the newly formed Community College District 502. Driving from class to class, the students, faculty and staff of this “campus-less” community college became affectionately known as road runners, hence the school’s nickname, “Chaparrals.”

College of DuPage’s origins can be traced to two signature events. First was the Illinois General Assembly adoption of the Public Community College Act of 1965. Second was the approval by DuPage high school district voters of a 1965 referendum. Their foresight created a new community college to serve the dynamically growing and prospering DuPage area.

In 1968, a 273-acre Glen Ellyn campus site was acquired, and a year later, three interim buildings were constructed west of Lambert Road. The first permanent building, today’s Berg Instructional Center, opened in 1973. Four years later, the top floor of the BIC was completed. The year 1979 marked the appointment of Harold D. McAninch as College of DuPage’s second president, and in 1983 the Student Resource Center (SRC) and Physical Education and Community Recreation Center opened.

Over the next decade, the McAninch Arts Center (1986) and Seaton Computing Center (1990) opened on campus, while new Naperville and Westmont centers (1991) offered an even greater regional presence.

Michael T. Murphy became College of DuPage’s third president in 1994. Under President Murphy, College of DuPage became America’s largest single-campus community college, a distinction it held through 2003. Today, with more than 26,000 students, College of DuPage is the largest community college in Illinois and third largest among the state’s public colleges and universities.

Capping the 2002 academic year, voters approved a $183-million bond issue that provided funds for the renovation and rebuilding of the Glen Ellyn campus and several off-campus locations.

The arrival of the College’s fourth president, Dr. Sunil Chand, and the opening of the College’s expanded Bloomingdale Center highlighted 2003. Throughout 2004 and 2005, Chand launched major initiatives for the College’s academic accreditation through the AQIP quality improvement process and curriculum conversion from quarters to semesters that officially began with the fall 2005 semester.

College of DuPage opened its Carol Stream Community Education Center in 2004 and West Chicago Community Education Center in 2005. The year 2006 brought the Frontier Campus in Naperville, a collaboration between College of DuPage and Indian Prairie District 204. Year 2007 included completion of the Early Childhood Center, along with construction of efficient new campus roadways and revamped parking lots.

College of DuPage in 2008 received a maximum seven-year reaccreditation through the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Institutions of Higher Education.

Dr. Robert L. Breuder took over for Interim President Harold McAninch in January 2009, and that summer both the Health and Science Center and Technical Education Center opened on the Glen Ellyn campus. Construction and other physical improvements, including landscaping and signage, intensified under Dr. Breuder’s leadership, boosted in November 2010 when District 502 voters approved a $168-million capital referendum initiative.

Funds from the 2002 referendum have been used for construction of the Homeland Security Education Center, the Student Services Center and the Culinary & Hospitality Center. The 2010 referendum will support projects including renovation of the Student Resource Center, the Seaton Computing Center, the McAninch Arts Center, the Campus Maintenance Center and the Physical Education Center. Under Dr. Breuder’s leadership, the College has seen several major outcomes, including significant semester-to-semester enrollment increases, the addition of approximately 50 new academic programs, and the creation of the 3+1 degree program that allows students to earn an entire bachelor’s degree with a partner university without leaving the COD campus.

The community college district served by College of DuPage has grown significantly over the years. Originally formed from 10 high school districts, District 502 has become the most populous in Illinois, outside of Chicago. More than one million residents from all or part of 51 communities comprise today’s District 502, with boundaries encompassing significant parts of Cook and Will counties, as well as the majority of DuPage County.

College of DuPage’s operating revenue is derived primarily from local taxes, tuition and fees, and state allocations. Special grants from state and federal sources may be acquired, and gifts and grants from foundations and private sources are accepted through the College of DuPage Foundation. College of DuPage is recognized by the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) and governed by a locally elected seven-member Board of Trustees and one elected, non-voting student representative.

Since its humble beginnings in 1967, College of DuPage has grown in breadth and stature to take its place as one of the nation’s finest community colleges.