Illinois College serves community as anchor institution


Illinois College’s vital role in the Jacksonville community was recently recognized by the Jacksonville Regional Economic Development Corporation (JREDC).

An anchor institution and a major, private-sector employer, the College was honored with the prestigious Harold Cox Industry of the Year Award. President Barbara A. Farley, who accepted the award on behalf of the College, said IC strives to be a college of choice, an employer of choice and a partner of choice in the community. 

“The histories of Illinois College and the City of Jacksonville have been intertwined since our foundings in 1829 and 1825, respectively,” Farley said. “The success and strength of our institution and the community surrounding it go hand-in-hand.” 

When students come to Illinois College, they become a unique and essential part of the Jacksonville community and economy. 

The College emphasizes the importance of experiential learning in preparing all students to attain their future goals. Many IC students pursue these transformative, hands-on experiences in the Jacksonville community — through internships, student teaching, research and service. The professional network they build in the area is critical to their success when joining the workforce following graduation.

JREDC President Kristin Van Aken Jamison ’99 listed IC’s talented students among the College’s important contributions to the community.

“Illinois College’s selection as the 2021 Harold Cox Industry of the Year is well deserved. The economic impact of the faculty, staff and students is critical to the success of many of our regional small businesses,” Jamison said. “We also recognize Illinois College graduates as a valuable talent pipeline to area employers. During an unprecedented time in history, IC increased its enrollment and concluded a $50 million comprehensive campaign. The addition of new academic programs and renovated academic buildings signal the upward trajectory of this historic and progressive institution.” 

The College was represented by several members of the IC community at the Sept. 22 award presentation, including Provost Catharine O'Connell; Katie Carls, executive director of development and alumni engagement; Susie Drake ’90, director of career counseling and internship development; and trustees Bob Chipman ’74 and Dr. Scott Boston.

As Illinois College approaches its bicentennial, we are aware of the responsibility of the role we play as an anchor institution.
President Barbara A. Farley

“Higher education’s importance to the region is evident,” Farley said. “As Illinois College approaches its bicentennial, we are aware of the responsibility of the role we play as an anchor institution. The College’s partnerships with Jacksonville and the region strengthen the entire community.”

The development of the nursing program amid the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 is just one of the ways the College has demonstrated a deep commitment to the success of Jacksonville and the needs of the region. Jacksonville Memorial Hospital, which was among last year’s award recipients, has been a clinical and community partner since the launch of IC’s nursing program. 

Tremendous enrollment growth realized by IC in the last decade is thanks in part to the College’s focused work on developing academic programs that align with the needs of students and regional employers. In addition to nursing, IC has launched exciting majors on campus in agribusiness, criminal justice, neuroscience and engineering, and expanded offerings in communication and business. Additionally, IC has launched fully online programs for working adults who wish to advance their education and develop their professional skills. 

About Illinois College

Founded in 1829, Illinois College is a residential liberal arts college fostering academic excellence rooted in opportunities for experiential learning while preparing students for lifelong success. The college is located in Jacksonville, Illinois. With an enrollment of more than 1,000 students, the college offers over 50 undergraduate programs. In 1932, the society of Phi Beta Kappa established a chapter at Illinois College, and it remains one of only 11 in the state.

Illinois College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

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