President emeritus, Dr. Vernon O. Crawley, and Sandra Wagner, member of the Moraine Valley board of trustees, listen to then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama during his 2005 visit to campus for Black History Month.

Moraine Valley Community College has kicked off its 50th anniversary and is officially celebrating being “Rock Solid Since 1967.” The college has experienced tremendous growth – both in physical space and enrollment – and has been a rock solid foundation for its 26 communities for five decades. Residents will have several opportunities to join the college in celebrating this milestone.

Moraine Valley officially was founded on Feb. 18, 1967 when residents passed a referendum approving the formation of a community college. A contest was held to name the college, and the board of trustees chose Moraine Valley Community College because of its location – where the Valparaiso and Tinley moraines meet to form a valley.

On Sept. 16, 1968, 1,218 students took the first classes at Moraine Valley in an old warehouse in Alsip, and Dr. Robert E. Turner began his tenure as the first president in offices in Oak Lawn. One year later, a sod farm was converted to the new Palos Hills campus, where seven temporary “huts” became the first structures. Construction on the first permanent building began in 1970. Additional successful referendums in 1994 and 2006 allowed for the creation of the Fine and Performing Arts Center, more state-of-the-art buildings and the Southwest Education Center in Tinley Park. Today, Moraine Valley is a sprawling campus with two extension sites and a student body of about 30,000 students annually.

Moraine Valley’s national status as a quality institution has led to several high profile and influential visitors throughout the years. Politicians such as President Ronald Reagan, Vice President Dick Cheney and U.S. Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden, among others, have spoken to students, while celebrities Jamie Farr, Bill Kurtis, Ralph Nader, Dr. Joyce Brothers, and Gwendolyn Brooks have visited, too.

A few of the many campus highlights include a re-enactment of the Revolutionary War in 1976 and hosting the Moving Wall, a traveling monument honoring Vietnam veterans, in 1994. The Marauders football team played its first season in 1983, and the Cyclones replaced the Marauders as the new mascot in 1998.

Several events for community members to join the celebration have been planned, including the Foundation’s Gala on Feb. 24 (tickets on sale at, Alumni Weekend April 7-8, Palos Hills Friendship Fest July 6-9 (the firework show will be dedicated to the college), and Community Celebration Day on Sept. 16.

Visit for more information about these events and to see a timeline and photo galleries of each decade; link to oral history videos by retired and current employees, friends of the college and alumni; and learn about the anniversary slogan and logo. This microsite will be updated throughout the year as will the college’s social media sites, which will post old photos of the college and promote the anniversary.

The college also is collecting old Moraine Valley materials or promotional items for a display. Anyone with these items is encouraged to lend or donate them to the 50th anniversary celebration. Items can be returned upon request. More information can be found on the website.