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Quick look at last decade of improvements at CLC

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Dec 20, 2019

Over the last 10 years, College of Lake County hired a new president, developed a $163 million master plan upgrading all three campuses and celebrated their 50th anniversary.

Here are the top 10 stories from the last 10 years:


CLC marks 50th anniversary with 50 free events.Aerial photo of people forming the number 50 at the Grayslake Campus Beginning with the May 2019 commencement ceremony, the college launched a series of events designed to celebrate CLC’s 50 years of impacting lives in Lake County and beyond. Sept. 25 marked 50 years after the first classes began with 12 months of events designed to allow a wider Lake County population to experience the college’s diverse offerings.


Photo: Attendees at CLC's Community50 Fest gathered on the Grayslake Campus in July.

New CLC President Lori Suddick, Ed. D., begins duties.
The college’s seventh president, Dr. Suddick joined CLC in May 2018 following a nationwide search. She previously served for nine years as vice president of learning and chief academic officer for Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay, Wis. Under Dr. Suddick’s leadership, CLC developed a new strategic plan through 2024. The plan focuses on six strategic pillars: Access & Success for Students; Equity & Inclusion; Teaching & Learning Excellence; Community & Workforce Partnerships; Collaborative Culture; and Strategic Use of Resources.


CLC implements or plans new upgrades for all three campuses. The college’s $163 million master plan, initiated by former CLC President Dr. Jerry Weber and approved by the Board of Trustees in 2012, resulted in several new and upgraded facilities that opened within the last four years. At the Grayslake Campus, highlights include: $28.3 million Science & Engineering Building, new Café Willow, updated heating, ventilating and air conditioning system, new Welcome and One Stop Center and renovated library. The Southlake (Vernon Hills) Campus added a state-of-the-art chemistry lab and the Lakeshore (Waukegan) Campus is planning a $48 million expansion.

In addition to the master-plan improvements at Grayslake, the campus opened the Baxter Innovation Lab in fall 2018. Funded by Baxter International, Inc., the lab is a non-profit instructional makerspace/fab lab and the first public lab of its kind in Lake County.


Lakeshore Campus hires new dean, launches renewed commitment to students. A Waukegan native, Jesus Ruiz, M.A.Ed. became dean of the Lakeshore Campus in fall 2019. He held a prior position as director of community engagement and pipeline initiatives at Rosalind Franklin University in North Chicago. His community involvement in Waukegan included leadership roles for United Way of Lake County and several other organizations. Ruiz holds a B.S. in biology from Loyola University Chicago and an M.A.Ed. degree in higher education leadership from Northeastern Illinois University. Currently, he is a doctoral student at Illinois State University, focusing on educational administration and foundations, with a specialty in equity, inquiry and research.

In fall 2018, CLC unveiled a new campaign known as the Lakeshore Commitment, a redoubling of its efforts to make the campus a one-stop source for education. Lakeshore is now providing more courses than ever, guaranteed course offerings, a wider selection of starting times and a stronger emphasis on helping students progress to graduation.


College recognized for high educational quality standards in re-accreditation. In fall 2017, CLC received reaffirmation of accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, which ensures educational quality and compliance with federal regulations for about 1,300 institutions in a 19-state region. CLC received the highest possible rating on more than 120 criteria. The rating demonstrates the college meets quality standards for the rigor of its academic programs, assisting students financially and with educational support, managing its finances and planning for future needs. Accreditation entitles CLC to continue disbursing federal financial aid, participating in federally funded programs and issuing degrees and certificates.


New Promise Scholarship Program launches. In fall 2017, CLC launched the new initiative to help eligible high school seniors afford college and graduate from CLC as close to debt-free as possible. The Promise Scholarship Program covers the gap between federal and state financial aid and tuition and fees. It encourages students to develop a two-year academic plan, create a career or transfer plan and participate in leadership and professional development activities. For details, visit


College launches new Employer Partnership Program. In 2016, CLC began a program that allows local businesses to participate at three different levels: gold, silver and bronze. Participation can range from serving on career advisory committees to providing tax-deductible donations of equipment to offering internships. Gold-level partners include AbbVie, Advocate Health Care, Cancer Treatment Centers of American, Grainger, NorthShore University Health System and more.


CLC and superintendents of 12 high schools formally launch a partnership. The agreement, launched in 2015, calls for mutual idea-sharing and work on issues ranging from increasing the college readiness of high school graduates to creating more opportunities for college credit in the high schools, often referred to as “dual credit.”  The high schools in the alliance include: Antioch, Grayslake (Central and North), Grant, Lakes, Lake Zurich, Mundelein, Round Lake, Warren Township, Wauconda, Waukegan and Zion-Benton (including New Tech High School at Zion-Benton East).


College goes smoke-free. Implementing the Illinois Smoke-Free Campus Act, CLC became a smoke-free college at all three CLC campuses on Jan. 1, 2015. CLC’s tobacco-free policy prohibits the use of tobacco cigarettes and any nicotine delivery device, including e-cigarettes. CLC also continues to comply with the federal Drug Free Schools and Communities Act. For details, visit


College establishes Center for International Education. In January 2010, CLC established a Center for International Education, which serves as a central office to handle recruitment and issues of international students as well as many other international programs and activities for students and faculty. Since then, hundreds of students from more than 50 countries have enrolled at CLC, prompting some observers to describe the campus as a “mini United Nations.” For details on the Center, visit


About College of Lake County:

College of Lake County is an innovative community college in Lake County, Ill. that transforms lives with its variety of accessible, quality education options. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, College of Lake County provides affordable options in a state-of-the-art setting close to home. A large student network, with small class sizes,provides advantages to our students on a career-related program or a path toward a transfer degree. We’re proud to serve the diverse needs of our community and student body. Connect to your future today at College of Lake County.