When Dr. Wally Fronczek walks around the campus of Moraine Valley Community College, he can’t help but feel excited.
He’s seen the college change and grow—for over 30 years.
Fronczek, dean of Liberal Arts, has worked at the college since 1984, and prior to that, he was a Moraine Valley student.
“It’s exciting to be a part of something that has grown before my eyes,” said Fronczek. “I’ve seen the college celebrate milestones and new buildings sprout.”
Fronczek, who said many people often refer to him as the historian because he’s been a staple on the campus for over three decades, recalls when the College Center was built in 1984.
“We didn’t have a new building for awhile, and when the College Center was built, it was like having a shiny new car,” said Fronczek. “In addition to housing student services, it had a McDonald’s, which was the first of its kind on a college campus.”
While the College Center opening was memorable, Fronczek recalls a lot of buzz with the inception of the Fine and Performing Arts Center in 1994.
“The Fine and Performing Arts Center was extra special because we had to pass a referendum in order to create a new building,” said Fronczek. “It was and still is the cultural hub of the community with shows featuring legends like Buddy Guy and Koko Taylor as well as performances.”
It just wasn’t the addition of new buildings that stand out in Fronczek’s memory. It was the guests the college hosted. In the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan came to campus to canvass for then Vice President George H.W. Bush. Several Illinois governors also visited Moraine Valley to announce significant grant funding or tour the state-of-the-art campus.
“Moraine Valley is a respected institution, and all these events have played a role in the college’s growth.”
While the college has grown during Fronczek’s tenure, so did his career.
When Fronczek started at Moraine Valley, he was hired as an orientation aide before moving to the College Activities department. During his tenure in College Activities, he worked as a director before becoming assistant dean of Student Life and Judicial Affairs. He then made a leap to the Fine and Performing Arts Center. He progressed from assistant dean to the dean of Liberal Arts, where he has been since 2004.
In all his roles, Fronczek has seen how the college has collectively made a difference in the lives of its students.
“I love that we are making a huge impact on the lives of students by providing accessible and affordable education,” said Fronczek. “I’ve seen the impact Moraine Valley has made for a lot of students and the community, and there is nothing more rewarding.”
And from his humble beginnings as a student to his current role as the dean of Liberal Arts, it’s safe to say Fronczek has felt the impact of Moraine Valley, too.
“I’ve grown with the college personally and professionally,” said Fronczek. “We might be a bigger institution than we were when we first started, but our role has remained the same. I still feel the same as when I walked through the doors at Moraine Valley for the first time—which is excited.”