Shawnee Community College was organized as a Class I community college in September of 1967. Created to serve Southern Illinois and its people, the college district covers all of Alexander, Massac, Pulaski, Union and parts of Johnson and Jackson counties.
The initial seven-member Board of Trustees was selected in December of 1967. These seven men ascertained the principles around which the college would be built. The board is responsible for the adoption and enforcement of all policies needed to manage and govern the college. The college officially opened September 24, 1969.
The campus of Shawnee Community College is located on Shawnee Community College road approximately eight miles east of Interstate 57. The site consists of 153 acres of gently rolling hills. The campus is centrally located within the college district. The “rustic campus” was erected during the summer of 1969. The main campus buildings were completed in 1976.
Dr. Loren E. Klaus was named the founding and first president in May of 1968. He oversaw the temporary campus facility design and construction, hiring administrators and instructors, course offerings, and, in his sixth year as President, the design and eventual construction of the permanent SCC facility. At that time, SCC had the highest ratio of Ph.D. instructors to students of any institution of higher learning in Illinois. He remained SCC President until late 1987, just shy of 20 years. In March 2022, Dr. Klaus passed away at the age of 93.
Dr. Barry Gowin was selected as the second president of the Shawnee Community College District in July of 1987. In November of 1987, the voters in the Shawnee Community College district voted overwhelmingly in support of a new classroom building addition. The 21,000 square-foot addition provided a biology laboratory, a nursing laboratory, general classrooms, and one large-group meeting room. The building addition was completed for student use in January of 1989.
Dr. Jack D. Hill was appointed as the third president of Shawnee Community College in January of 1991. During his tenure, he uplifted the institution and renewed its spirit through his integrity and morale-building leadership. During his presidency, the college expanded extension centers and experienced a large growth in the number of students who attended SCC. He initiated and built financial support for the construction of building K which houses the Educational Center, computer labs, the biology lab, general classrooms, and faculty offices. In 1996, Dr. Jack Hill was selected as the first President Emeritus of Shawnee Community College for his initiative and foresight.
Dr. Terry G. Ludwig was selected as the fourth president of Shawnee Community College in August of 1996. Dr. Ludwig brought with him extensive community college work experience through his employment at various colleges throughout the state of Illinois. Dr. Ludwig shared a common goal with SCC employees, and that was to make Shawnee Community College the best it can be for the citizens of the district. During his tenure, the college experienced growth in numbers of students, staff, programs, and grants. The college also opened the 33,000 square foot Educational Center in August of 2000, secured funding for the 10,500 square foot Metropolis Regional Education and Training Center in Metropolis City Industrial Park, opened a computer lab and fitness facility in the Alexander County Housing Authority in Cairo, Illinois, and planned a Regional Education Center in Cairo, Illinois. Shawnee Community College provides a dynamic learning environment incorporating advanced technology that ensures students of all ages the greatest chance of success.
Dr. Larry D. Choate assumed the duties of the fifth president of Shawnee Community College on January 1, 2005. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Choate served as the vice president of instruction since January 1, 1988. During his tenure at SCC, Dr. Choate worked alongside the college presidents assisting with the success of building initiatives such as an additional classroom building, educational center, and the Metropolis Regional Education and Training Center. Dr. Choate also initiated the colleges continuous quality improvement and strategic planning process. Dr. Choate supported the expansion of instructional services to students with the addition of internet courses, interactive television, and telecourse offerings.
Dr. Larry Peterson was named the sixth president of Shawnee Community College in December 2007. He served for 20 years at John A. Logan College – including two months as interim president – before coming to SCC. Dr. Peterson took an aggressive approach to growth at SCC, challenging the staff to work with him to double enrollment over the next five years. After being named president, Dr. Peterson quickly reached out to the supporters of the college through an effort called “Shawnee United.” He also initiated a vast advertising campaign titled “I am Shawnee Community College” highlighting the success stories of graduates. Dr. Peterson oversaw the relocation to a state-of-the-art Anna Extension Center facility. In addition, Dr. Peterson reached out to economic development entities throughout the college district to create partnerships between the college and business and industry to bring economic growth to the southernmost part of Illinois.
Dr. Tim Bellamey assumed the duties of the seventh president of Shawnee Community College on August 1, 2012. Dr. Bellamey served the college since 1982 in a variety of positions before being named Vice President of Instructional Services in 2005. The preparation of students for the twenty-first century workforce through the development of relevant career and technical career training programs was a primary goal of Dr. Bellamey. In support of that goal, the new Career and Technical Center opened in the fall of 2013 on the main campus.
Dr. Peggy F. J. Bradford was named the eighth president of Shawnee Community College on June 14, 2017. Prior to assuming the position, Dr. Bradford previously served as the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at State University of New York (SUNY) Westchester Community College in Valhalla, New York. Dr. Bradford is a southern Illinois native and attended Shawnee Community College, earning her Associate of Arts degree.
Dr. Tim Taylor was named the ninth president of Shawnee Community College on September 9, 2020. Previously, Dr. Taylor successfully served at Oakland Community College (OCC) as Campus President for the College’s two largest campuses. Dr. Taylor also served as President of Frontier Community College (FCC). Under his leadership, FCC was recognized by CollegeMeasures.org as the top community college in the nation for student success with a 100% graduation or transfer rate in 2013. Dr. Taylor has an extensive background in academic leadership, community partnerships, and performance-based curriculum design and brings tremendous depth and leadership focused on student success to SCC. Dr. Taylor is truly an example of the successful foundation available through the Illinois community college system. He holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis from the University of Wisconsin, a Master’s in Science in Vocational Education from Southern Illinois University, a B.S. in Electronics Management from Southern Illinois University, an A.A.S. in Electronics Technology, an A.A.S. in Industrial Maintenance, and a Certificate in Welding from Danville Area Community College. He began his career in a faculty role and quickly moved to leadership positions in business, technology, skilled trades, and agriculture.