Rock Valley College was created by district-wide referendum on October 10, 1964, after a two-year study established the need for a community college. The college district is comprised of Boone and Winnebago counties and portions of Stephenson, Ogle, McHenry, and DeKalb counties. The district's first Board of Trustees, elected in 1964, chose former executive dean of Chicago City Junior College Clifford G. Erickson as the first president in April, 1965.
A 217-acre tract of land at Mulford and Spring Brook Roads in northeast Rockford was selected as the site of the new campus.
An aerial view of Spring Brook Farm in 1965, now the home of the RVC main campus!
Construction began on the main buildings in the fall of 1967, after voters approved a bond referendum which provided one-fourth of the construction funds, with the state providing the remainder of the funding. The first three buildings were completed in August, 1969, and were ready for classes a month later. The Educational Resource Center, Student Center, and the Physical Education Center opened during the fall semester, 1971. The Technology Center opened for classes in January, 1988 as the region was in the midst of a recession. The primary goal of this center and its progressive programs was to retrain residents and educate students for a new economy.
Dr. Karl Jacobs, who assumed the college presidency in January 1969, was instrumental in the conception and implementation of the Technology Center and its programs. Jacobs joined the college following President Erickson's departure the previous year.
Under the leadership of President Roland J. Chapdelaine, installed as the third president of Rock Valley College in 1997, a facilities master plan was developed to guide the future growth of the campus. Approved by the Board of Trustees in 1999, the plan looked 25 years into the future. Among the projects completed were impressive enhancements to the Bengt Sjostrom Theatre, a new Support Services Building, and remodeling of the Student Center. The projects enhanced a campus already recognized as one of the most beautiful in the state.
The remodeled Bengt Sjostrom Theatre opened in 2003 and is a one-of-a-kind architectural marvel!
In January 2004, the Rock Valley College Board of Trustees hired Dr. John Anderson as College President. During his tenure, Anderson oversaw the visit by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association leading to Rock Valley College receiving a 10 year accreditation.
As the fifth president of Rock Valley College, Dr. Jack Becherer continued the vision of teaching, learning, and leading. A student success model was developed and an ambitious enrollment management plans sought to encourage high school seniors to consider Rock Valley College as a viable start to a rewarding college experience.
On the career side, Dr. Becherer and Rock Valley College established and continued to seek opportunities to partner with local business and the community to offer students the training that leads to good jobs and provides the region a stronger workforce.
In 2009 the college completed a 16-month renovation of the Physical Education Center to better accommodate growing classes and students with disabilities. Through careful planning of materials and a Green Build philosophy, the college was awarded gold level LEED status (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) – the first project of its kind in the Rockford area.
In fall 2011 the college opened a new classroom building, The Karl J. Jacobs Center for Science and Math, in honor of RVC's longest serving president. The first educational building constructed on campus since 1986, this new state-of-the-art facility includes multiple science labs, resource labs and fourteen classrooms and was also recently certified LEED gold.
A nighttime view of the Karl J. Jacobs Center for Science and Math. The JCSM opened for classes in 2011.
In April, 2014, Mike Mastroianni was named the sixth president of Rock Valley College, following the retirement of Dr. Becherer after a decade of service. A lifelong resident of the Rockford area and RVC alumnus, President Mastroianni has a broad background in higher education. During the past sixteen years at the college, he has led the Management Institute (now known as the Business and Professional Institute), served as Dean of Community Outreach, Associate Vice President of Outreach and Planning, and Vice President of Career and Technical Education and Outreach. He is also broadly known in the community for his longstanding commitment to service, including boards of many organizations.
Currently, in addition to the main campus, the college offers degrees and related programs at the Samuelson Road Center; the Learning and Opportunity Center; the Center for Learning in Retirement, and the Aviation Career Education Center located at the Chicago/Rockford International Airport. A new Health Sciences Center is also under construction on the main campus with and is expected to open in the fall of 2017. The college also holds Community Education classes at over 40 sites and operates employment and training programs at the North Main Street Center in Rockford.
RVC's Aviation Career Education Center at the Chicago/Rockford International Airport opened for classes on August 24, 2015!
Rock Valley College is proud to have been transforming lives as our community's college for over 50 years.
Rock Valley College continues to grow and strengthen lifelong learning opportunities and to develop innovative partnerships that offer social, economic, and cultural enrichment to the community.
Dr. Clifford G. Erickson (1966--1968)
Dr. Karl J. Jacobs (1969-1997)
Dr. Roland J. Chapdelaine (1997-2004)
Dr. John H. Anderson (2004)
Dr. Jack J. Becherer (2004-2013)
Michael D. Mastroianni (2014-present)