Morton College, the second oldest community college in Illinois, was founded in 1924 to meet the educational demands in the growing communities of Berwyn, Cicero, Forest View, Lyons, McCook, Stickney and other near western suburbs, which, at the time, comprised a national hub of economic activity.
As the community grew, so did Morton College. Originally housed at Morton East High School, the College was governed by the Morton High School Board of Trustees from 1924 until district residents voted to form the independent, Community College District No. 527 in 1966.
Finding a home of its own became the greatest challenge for the new independent college. It took several years to find the right site in a built-up community. In the meantime, the College leased classrooms at Morton East, storefronts and in community churches.
Construction began on the current Morton College campus at Pershing Road and Central Avenue in 1973. Twenty-one months later, the campus opened and quickly became the pride of the community. Long-term residents as well as aspiring young immigrants attended the school to realize their dreams.
Over the decades, Morton College’s university transfer program has become known state-wide for academic excellence. The College’s curriculum and mission also has expanded to include career, community, continuing and adult education programs.
When the College opened its doors in 1924, it did so with only 11 teachers and 76 students, but all were dedicated to a future-oriented philosophy. The College renews that commitment at the beginning of the 21st century with a series of renovations and upgrades that ensures the College will continue to be the pride of the community for future generations.
The renovated, award-winning Library opened in 2005 with three times the number of computers as the previous facility, wireless access, group study rooms and a cyber-café. Science and computer laboratories were upgraded to state-of-the-art facilities that rival any in the country.
A new Student Success Center, which houses a number of important student services such as tutoring, placement testing and career assistance, opened in 2007. Equipped with the latest technology, students can also use the Center to relax between classes by playing games, watching movies, or enjoying a quiet moment.
And finally, in 2007, the Hawthorne Works Museum and Heritage Hall opened to honor the College's roots in the community, its rich industrial past, and to pay homage to the thousands of individuals who lived and worked in the area.
From a remarkable beginning to a bright, promising future, Morton College continues to move forward in welcoming new and future students seeking to enrich their lives and prosper through higher education.