The year-long celebration of Carl Sandburg College's 50th anniversary will end this weekend.
Stephanie Hilton, director of advancement for the college foundation, says it all started in 1966 when a few classes were offered in a church basement in downtown Galesburg. It's since grown to have its own campus, a branch in Carthage, 23-hundred students, and more than 200 faculty and staff.
"Economically, I would say a lot of our career, technical, and health education type classes - over 80 per cent of those students stay within our region after graduation. So the students who are graduating with us are staying and giving back to the communities."
Hilton says the mission of the college is still the same - to make college more accessible for all students - those aiming for, four-year degrees, and those interested in career classes.
One major addition in recent years is dual-credit programs at some of the high schools in the district.
"If a test shows they're ready for college courses, then they're able to take a complete full load. They can actually graduate from Abingdon-Avon High School with a high school diploma and an associate's degree. Then they can go straight to a four-year if they like or come to us for nursing or a different certificate."
The 50th anniversary party for Carl Sandburg College will be held Saturday night at Yemm Ford in Galesburg. Proceeds will go to this year's Annual Fundraising Challenge.