30 East Lake Street
Chicago, IL 60601
|Assistant Chapter Chair
Harold Washington College (HWC) is one of seven separately accredited colleges of the City Colleges of Chicago (CCC), Community College District No. 508. The City Colleges of Chicago have always represented hope and opportunity to people in Chicago’s working class and immigrant communities. When its doors opened, the first City College was clearly a “people’s college” — a name that has defined its mission and operations throughout its near-85 years of history. While each of the seven CCC’s reflects the diversity of its community, all are unified by a common core curriculum and a perspective that focuses on pre-baccalaureate education.
HWC, originally called Loop Junior College, was founded in 1962 to serve the number of Chicagoans who wanted to combine college study with downtown employment. In spring of 1982, HWC moved from 185 N. Wabash Avenue, where it had been located since 1976, into new facilities at 30 E. Lake Street in the heart of Chicago’s busy “Loop.” The new facility housed HWC, the District Administration of CCC, and Chicago City-Wide College (CCWC). CCWC handled the off-campus and adult education programs as well as the media-based courses and self-directed study.
In 1987, CCWC and CCC District Administration moved to new offices. The separation was important symbolically as well as functionally, freeing up space to be devoted to instruction and allowing Loop College to operate in its own sphere. However something even more compelling occurred the same year, the untimely and tragic death of Harold Washington, the first African-American mayor of Chicago. He had been a strong advocate of education in Chicago and especially CCC. Within days of his death, the CCC Board of Trustees re-named Loop College after the late mayor.
In 1993, CCWC was consolidated into HWC, and enrollment was instantly doubled. The CCWC name was dissolved, and over time both merged to function as a single institution. By 1999, HWC was chosen as the CCC Center for Distance Learning (CDL). Over 70 courses were offered through various distance-learning technologies. Upon the completion of the new campus for Kennedy-King College (KKC) in 2007, the CDL was moved from HWC to KKC.
From 2003 to 2005, as a result of a $29.5 million dollar renovation project, HWC modernized the campus building, greatly expanding computer labs while adding 16 new classrooms and a restructured Community Room. HWC also renovated its library and constructed a first ever student union. HWC has created an excellent urban facility with the latest instructional technologies.