Gov. Quinn’s announcement of a $4.5 million gift for classroom expansion on the Morton College campus was the result of the dedicated efforts of many people who believed deeply in the mission of the college and in its community.
But this gift does not represent the end of our efforts to chart a new path into the future – it represents the beginning.
With 76.6 percent of its student body identified as Hispanic, Morton College is the seventh largest two-year, public, Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) in the United States – the largest east of the Mississippi River.
Just as the community accommodated the southern and eastern European immigrants a century ago, it now is home to an impressive population of Central Americans. The college needs to adapt to its demographics accordingly.
This fall, Morton College will draft a new diversity policy that promises to re-engineer its operational procedures in order to best serve its students and community. Among current practices that will be scrutinized are faculty and staff recruitment and hiring protocols, employee training and professional development, marketing and student development activities and classroom approaches that are designed to promote student success continually. We are confident that the fine institution we know as Morton College will become an even better one in the future.
Enrollment at the College is up over 13 percent of what it was last fall. That is a phenomenal increase that professionally I never have come close to experiencing at any point in my career. I credit much of this increase to the work that our Student Services area has put into recruiting, counseling, orienting and providing financial aid for our incoming first-year students.
Studies have indicated that a student undecided upon where she or he will go to school will decide to go to a particular college within the first 17 minutes of setting foot on that campus. This fact coupled with our dramatic enrollment increase is a testament to how well our front-line staff treats its students at Morton College.
The future of Morton College certainly looks quite bright!
Dana Grove is president of Morton College