Puneet Varma (Editor)

Rock Valley College

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Established  1965
Undergraduates  8072
Location  Rockford, IL, USA
Total enrollment  8,600 (2011)
President  Douglas Jensen
Other students  7853 (non-credit)
Phone  +1 815-921-7821
Mascot  Arvee the Golden Eagle
Rock Valley College

Type  Public, 2 year Community College
Address  3301 N Mulford Rd, Rockford, IL 61114, USA
Undergraduate tuition and fees  Local tuition: 3,044 USD (2015), Domestic tuition: 14,774 USD (2015)
Similar  Kishwaukee College, Northern Illinois University, Rockford University, Waubonsee Community College, Elgin Community College

Rock valley college health sciences center

Rock Valley College (RVC) is a two-year college located in Rockford, Illinois. The school is one of 48 open-admission colleges of the Illinois Community College System (ICCS), organized under the Illinois Public Community College Act. RVC’s district comprises Winnebago County, Boone County, and parts of Stephenson County, Ogle County, McHenry County, and DeKalb County. Since opening for classes in 1965, RVC has grown to an institution of 140 faculty members, 500 part-time lecturers and more than 10,000 students.



Rock Valley College was founded in 1964 to allow students from the region in and around Rockford Public School District No. 205 the opportunity to receive post-secondary education similar to university curriculum. RVC’s district comprises all of Winnebago and Boone County and parts of Stephenson, Ogle, McHenry and DeKalb counties. Authorized by the Illinois General Assembly and signed by Illinois Governor Otto Kerner, Jr. in 1961, legislation was enacted that created the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE). The IBHE was tasked by statute with formulating a Master Plan for Higher Education in the state of Illinois. In July 1964 the higher education master plan was published by the IBHE, which led to the Junior College Act of 1965. Soon thereafter, a district-wide referendum was approved that authorized the founding of RVC. It received accreditation via the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools in 1971.

In April 1965, Clifford G. Erickson was chosen by the first Board of Trustees to be the first President of Rock Valley College, and classes began on September 29, 1965 for 1,054 students. However, the main campus was not ready for classes. Instead, during the first year, classes were held in various locations throughout Rockford, including Harlem High School, the Rockford YWCA, the National Guard Armory, and the Naval Reserve Armory. By Fall 1966, classes moved to three small wooden buildings at the current main campus location . The buildings, referred to as "temp building" on campus, remained active in a variety of capacities for 37 years. In October 1967, the groundbreaking for six permanent buildings occurred. It took five years to complete Classrooms I and II, a Boiler House, Educational Resource Center (ERC), Student Center (SC) and the Physical Education Center (PEC). In 1968 the college began an aviation maintenance program at the Rockford Airport (now the Chicago Rockford International Airport) and an automotive service tech program in the neighboring town of Belvidere. Both programs are still active.

In January 1969, Dr. Karl Jacobs became the second RVC President. During his 28-year tenure, the college expanded both programs and locations. In 1970, the American Dental Association's Council of Education approved the RVC Dental Assisting Program. The next year, the college took over the Adult and Continuing Education program from the Rockford School District, offering personal enrichment and professional development classes to the public. A Tool and Die Apprenticeship program was added in 1974. In 1978, the college began offering college credit to high school students taking classes through the High School Connections program. In 1981 the college purchased an unused school building, Bell School, which is used for many of the community education classes. Dr. Jacobs also spearheaded the building of the Technology Center (now Woodward Tech Center or WTC) and the implementation of numerous technology programs. The Tech Center opened in 1987 and was featured the next year in a front page article of the New York Times titled "Community Colleges Emerge as Centers for Job Training." The center helped with a cooperative education agreement reached the previous year with Chrysler Motor Corporation that allowed workers to take technology courses that went toward job training for the Belvidere plant as well as college credit. It also became the first testing location for robotics classroom software developed by the University of Michigan.

Upon Dr. Jacob's retirement, Dr. Roland "Chip" Chapdelaine became the college's third president in 1997. He continued expansion of the college and its facilities. Under his leadership, the Student Center was remodeled, the Support Services Building (SSB) was built, and the state of the art Bengt Sjostrom Theatre with its retractable roof was unveiled.

Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen, Illinois Senator Dave Syverson, Larry Young, author Kimberla Lawson Roby, illustrator Tom Lichtenheld, and chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke, are members of the college alumni. Many other celebrities and notable people have visited Rock Valley College over the years:

1971 Miss America, Phyllis George, visited for a panel discussion.

1972 Doc Severinsen, the world famous jazz trumpeter and band leader for The Tonight Show, performed.

1972 Ed Cox, the son-in-law of President Richard Nixon, visited to discuss the Vietnam War.

1972 Johnny Cash performed a sold-out show. Included in the show were June Carter, the Carter family, The Statler Brothers, the Tennessee Three with Larry Butler, and Carl Perkins.

1973 Billie Jean King played an exhibition match on campus, beating French player Francoise Durr.

1974 Ann Landers gave a lecture.

1975 The 8th Annual World Affairs Conference of Northwestern Illinois was held at RVC and former British Ambassador to the UN Lord Caradon was the keynote speaker.

1975 Several performances were held on campus throughout the year, including Gordon Lightfoot, Merle Haggard, Tommy Overstreet, and Hank Williams Jr..

1976 The Mid American Dance Seminar was held at RVC which featured Russian ballet instructor Edward Caton as well as performers Shozo Sato and Robert Higa.

1977 Charles Wyckoff was a guest speaker talking about the Lock Ness Monster expeditions.

1978 Maya Angelou gave a lecture on "The Imperative Friendship Between Woman and Men."

1979 The Oak Ridge Boys performed.

1983 Max Robinson, ABC World News Tonight anchor gave a lecture.

1984 Gene Roddenberry gave a lecture.

1984 Vaclav Nelhybel was part of the college's Guest Artist Series concerts.

1985 Guest lecturer Coretta Scott King spoke on "The Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr."

1985 George McFarland ("Sparky") visited campus for a special viewing of the Our Gang series.

1989 Alan Arkin gave a lecture entitled "The Creative Impulse and the Search for Self."

1991 Ed and Lorraine Warren gave a lecture on their involvement in the Amityville Horror investigation.

1992 Samuel Pickering Jr. spoke about his personal philosophy that inspired the movie Dead Poets Society.

1993 Magic Johnson made his first stop on his "Magic All Stars Tour."

2000 Los Tigres Del Norte performed.

2004 Kevin Powell gave a lecture.

2006 President Barack Obama (then Illinois Senator) held a town hall meeting on campus.

2011 Sister Helen Prejean gave a lecture.

2012 Daniel Wallace gave a lecture as part of the college's Visiting Writers Series.

2013 Mat Franco performed, a year prior to his America's Got Talent win.

2015 Jonathan Bostic held a meet and greet event on campus.

2016 Orange is the New Black star Jackie Cruz gave a lecture.


Rock Valley College is located on a 217-acre (0.88 km2) tract of land at Mulford and Spring Brook roads in northeast Rockford. In addition to the main campus, RVC operates programs at owned facilities at the Stenstrom Center for Career Education on Samuelson Road, home to several health and technical programs, the Aviation Center at the Chicago Rockford International Airport in Rockford, and the Bell School Road Center, which houses the college’s Center for Learning in Retirement.

Rock Valley College holds continuing education classes at more than 50 sites throughout its district, and operates employment and training programs at the Illinois Employment Training Center at 303 North Main Street in Rockford.

Academics and demographics

Rock Valley College is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) to offer certificates, diplomas and associate degrees. It received the maximum ten-year accreditation approval by the Higher Learning Commission of the NCA during its last review through the year 2014. It received initial accreditation in 1971 after applying for accreditation candidacy in 1967.

Rock Valley College partners with area four-year colleges and universities, such as Northern Illinois University, University of Illinois, Springfield, and Western Illinois University as a part of the Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI), a statewide transfer agreement which ensures general education credits are transferable among more than 100 participating college or universities in Illinois. There are two primary educational tracks at RVC: Transfer Programs, and Career Educational Programs. The tracks offer a total of 33 associate degree programs, and 34 certificate programs to students of RVC.


As of April 13, 2009, for-credit Spring enrollment at RVC was 8,072, of which 3,569 were enrolled full-time, and 4,503 were enrolled part-time. In addition, 7,853 non-credit enrollees were reported by RVC for the same period. Dual credit students, who are obtaining college credit while attending high school accounted for 536 students of total enrollment. Overall student head count at the college rose 8 percent from 2008 school year. Most of the increase in enrollment was attributed to new freshmen beginning at community colleges, as well as the introduction of new programs at the college.


Rock Valley College provides a library at its main Rockford, Illinois Campus. The library has over 100,000 volumes and equivalent online periodical and newspaper databases. It has facilities for study, research, leisure reading, class preparation, and wireless Internet access for students.


Eight men's and women's intercollegiate sports are offered at RVC. The Golden Eagles compete in NJCAA Division III in volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, softball, men's and women's tennis and golf. RVC has won six NJCAA National Championships in volleyball, golf, and tennis. As of fall 2014, RVC also offers men's and women's soccer. The 2014 men's basketball team won the NJCAA DIII national tournament in Loch Sheldrake, NY at Sullivan County Community College, the first national championship in the program's 48-year history. RVC was one of only four community colleges to field a football program among the 48-member Illinois Community College System. Due to funding and attendance issues, the RVC Board of Trustees voted to discontinue the football program on April 28, 2009.

Theatre & Arts

The college Theatre Department offers year-round opportunities for students and community members through its two theatres: Rock Valley College Starlight Theatre and Rock Valley College Studio Theatre. The Starlight Theatre is housed in the award-winning outdoor Bengt Sjostrom Theatre, which features a movable roof. Studio Theatre is housed in a converted barn on the campus, along with Theatre Department offices and costume storage facilities. Plans to relocate them from "the barn" to a new Arts Instructional Center (AIC) with modern amenities has been tabled by the college's Board of Trustees.


Rock Valley College Wikipedia