Thornton Junior College was founded on September 19, 1927. At that time, the College was an extension of and located in a section of Thornton Township High School at 151st Street and Broadway in Harvey, Illinois.
Thornton Junior College was the fifth college established in Illinois and offered nine curricula. The college had 47 students and 15 faculty members with an annual budget of $27,496. During the first nine years of operation, no tuition was charged to students residing in the district. Beginning in 1936, residents had to pay a tuition fee of $50 each school year. Tuition did not go to a semester hourly charge until 1967, at which time it was $6 per credit hour.
The college continued to be a part of the high school system until July 1965, when the Illinois Community College Act created Junior College District 510 and enlarged the area served to include high school districts 205, 215, and 228 (Thornton, Thornton Fractional, and Bremen.) In 1969, the name was changed to Thornton Community College to emphasize the comprehensive mission of the College.
On August 30, 1971, the college campus was moved to a 21-building interim complex located at 50 West 162nd Street in South Holland. Ground was broken for the permanent building at 15800 South State Street on January 23, 1970. Phase I was completed two years later, and approximately 7,000 students first entered the hallways on August 24, 1972. Phase II was completed on August 2, 1976.
On July 1, 1988, the Board of Trustees voted to change the college's name to South Suburban College. The reason for the change was two-fold: first, the name better reflected the area serviced by College District 510, which includes 20 communities in Thornton and Bremen Townships. Secondly, it eliminated confusion with local high school districts whose names also begin with Thornton.
On February 3, 1992, SSC officially opened the University & College Center, located at 16333 South Kilbourn Avenue in Oak Forest. This new facility was opened to better service residents of the western portion of the district and to provide opportunities for district residents to complete a four-year degree. Both day and evening classes are offered at the center, as well as a variety of support services.
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