As Moraine Valley continued to grow, the college needed a leader to take charge.

Dr. Patricia Bauhs, who was dean of continuing education in the late 1980s and 1990s, led the way for Moraine Valley’s growth in continuing and professional education. She came from Chicago State University to Moraine Valley in 1986.

“When I started at Moraine Valley, I knew there was so much potential because of all the growth happening in the college’s district,” said Bauhs. “It was an exciting time to be at Moraine Valley, creating classes and programs to meet the needs of a growing community.”

According to Bauhs, one of the important ways Moraine Valley filled the demand for continuing education was through real estate training. The program led to the licensure of about 1,200 Realtors in the 1980s and 1990s when houses were quickly popping up in Orland Park and Tinley Park.

As more young families moved into the area with many of those two-working-parent households, they searched for an enriching experience for themselves and their kids.

Cue Moraine Valley.

“Parents were looking for a safe atmosphere that could provide academic enrichment for their children,” said Bauhs. “With the input of district teachers and curriculum directors, we developed the Valley Learning Center.”

The Valley Learning Center, established in the 1980s became a valuable resource for the community where kids could stay sharp for summer on academics but also explore the arts, science and technology. Thousands of kids have enrolled in programs over the years.

And while the college was busy teaching the youngest community members, the college also was bringing Moraine Valley out to the community.

“We took the college to all areas of the Moraine Valley service area from Robbins to Tinley Park,” said Bauhs. “We were able to grow the college by holding classes at local high schools and community centers before eventually building two off campus locations, making higher education more accessible to our community.”

The Education Center at Blue Island opened in 1998, and the Southwest Education Center in Tinley Park opened in 2009.

Bauhs said that many community members would take classes off-site for convenience, but eventually they would come to the main campus to complete their degree. Regardless of where students took classes one thing remained the same: excellence in teaching.

“Moraine Valley had an opportunity for everyone, and it was a hidden gem for awhile until people discovered what we had to offer,” said Bauhs. “In every service we provided, we always fostered best practices and kept in mind the needs of the community.”

Bauhs, who eventually went on to give a decade of service as vice president for Institutional Advancement and Executive Assistant to the President, retired from Moraine Valley in 2006. She remains involved in growing programs in the community but from a different perspective. She serves on several boards in her Oak Park hometown and with the State University Annuitants’ Association.

“Moraine Valley will always be a special place for me because of all that the college was able to do for the community and for its faculty and staff. Those who work at Moraine Valley continue to be dedicated to meeting community needs and to student success,” said Bauhs.