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Illinois Valley Community College president Jerry Corcoran and Catherine Miller, chairman of the board for Miller Group Media, cut the ribbon to officially open the college’s Peter Miller Community Technology Center on Friday afternoon. The new building will become home to at least nine technical career programs. Also taking part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony are Miller Group Media president Joyce McCullough (second from right) as well as area legislators and IVCC officials. NewsTribune photo/Scott Anderson
A purple ribbon was cut, ushering in a new era of educational prosperity in the Illinois Valley.
Hundreds attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday for the Peter Miller Community Technology Center at Illinois Valley Community College. The 80,000-square-foot facility now is home to no less than nine technical career programs and dozens of crucial student services while leaving plenty of space for expansion within the existing campus building.
“As I’ve been known to say lately, we only build new buildings around here every 34 years, so when we do, it’s a big deal,” IVCC president Jerry Corcoran said. “We take great pride in having the word ‘community’ in our name, and for the next 89 years, our pledge to you is that we will always respond to the needs of the community we serve in our Peter Miller Community Technology Center.”
Nearly five years ago, the IVCC board of trustees combined two proposed building plans on the state’s waiting list for construction projects into one large building plan. That plan was to provide the Illinois Valley with the education infrastructure future employees would need to obtain high-demand, high-paying technical jobs. The $30.4 million CTC also serves as a place where local employers can update the training of their existing workforce using a variety of state-of-the-art equipment and classrooms featured in the building.
By August 2011, Gov. Pat Quinn, state Rep. Frank Mautino and former state Sen. Gary Dahl formally announced the state had approved the CTC plans and would release $22.8 million, or 75 percent of the construction price tag. The college covered the rest.
Next, college officials needed to create the college’s first ever capital fundraising campaign to acquire $2.1 million worth of everything from chairs and desks to major pieces of technological instruction equipment.
“I was taught that it’s a good idea to have a lead gift whenever you’re about to launch a capital campaign, and boy, did we ever …” Corcoran said.
That lead gift came via a $1 million donation by Miller Group Charitable Trust’s $1 million donation in honor of the late Peter and Pete Miller.
“When I had lunch with Jerry (Corcoran), Reed Wilson and Fran Brolley, I had no idea that would lead to something as grand as this,” said Miller Group Media president Joyce McCullough.
Added Catherine Miller, Pete Miller’s widow and chairman of the board for Miller Group Media: “I know Peter and Pete would be proud of this. Both were passionate about technology and they would be first in line to tour this building.”
Soon after, alumni began donating major amounts of equipment such as a $300,000 vertical machining center or a $100,000 donation made by Bill and Dian Taylor, two of the college’s most ardent foundation donors.
Corcoran read from a long list of people within the IVCC administration and community that played crucial roles in making the CTC possible.
“IVCC is more than buildings, equipment and technology,” Corcoran said. “What I am most proud of are the people who work hard every day to help prepare 10,000 students per year to achieve their academic and career goals.”
Kevin Caufield can be reached at (815) 220-6932 or email@example.com.
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