Say Yes to Thornton Community College

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Thornton Junior College was founded in 1927 as an extension of  Thornton Township High School in Harvey, Illinois. The 1965 Illinois Community College Act enlarged the service area to include additional high school districts, and in 1969 the school’s name was changed to Thornton Community College to better reflect the mission and goals of the college.

The school relied on tax dollars to support its mission, and throughout its history urged residents to vote yes at tax referendums. 1986 was a particularly fraught year for the school, when the need for a tax increase coincided with a six-week long teachers’ strike that led to the temporary closure of the school. 

In 1987, the two referendum proposals meant to address the college’s projected $1 million deficit failed. At the time, it was the eighth time in 21 years that voters had turned down a tax increase, and the school had both the lowest tax rates and the highest tuition of any of Illinois’ community colleges.   

In 1988, the name was changed again and the school became known as South Suburban College, which better reflects its geographic location and the fact a majority of its students hailed from outside of Thornton Township. The name change was also part of an advertising strategy to show a break with the college’s past and the many changes that were made following the tumult of the 1986 teacher’s strike. By 1989, a school that many had feared would go bankrupt was back in the pink.


Fegelman, A. (1986, Oct 15). STRIKE SENTIMENT MAY CURB COLLEGE'S TAX HOPES: [SPORTS FINAL, C EDITION]. Chicago Tribune (Pre-1997 Fulltext)

Fegelman, A. (1986, Sep 09). FACULTY AT THORNTON ANGERED BY PROPOSAL: [SPORTS FINAL, C EDITION]. Chicago Tribune (Pre-1997 Fulltext)

History of the College . 

Karwath, R. (1987, Mar 05). New crises for embattled suburb school: President quits, budget in jeopardy at Thornton Community College. Chicago Tribune (1963-1996) 

Karwath, R. (1986, Oct 03). S. HOLLAND CAMPUS TO REOPEN: [CHICAGOLAND EDITION]. Chicago Tribune (Pre-1997 Fulltext)

Kuroski, N. (1986, March 13). Says tax hike brings return. Southtown Star, pp. 9–9. 

Pearlman-Debelak., J. (1989, Mar 06). South Suburban College bounces back: [SOUTH SPORTS FINAL, C Edition]. Chicago Tribune (Pre-1997 Fulltext)


TCC tries again. (1986, October 19). Southtown Star. Tinley Park, Illinois. 

Catalog ID CA0750