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Daily News Editorial

By Staff | Apr 29, 2008

According to Iowa Lakes Community College President Dr. Harold Prior, it was 23 years ago that a presidential decree designated April as Community College Month. That certainly gives Estherville and the other campuses in the five-county Iowa Lakes Community College service area something to celebrate.

Estherville Junior College was founded in 1924. A few years later, Emmetsburg Junior College was founded and operated by the Emmetsburg public schools in 1930.

It was May 26, 1965, when Iowa state Sen. Jack Kibbie moved that the state establish the Iowa Community College system. That is why Sen. Kibbie today continues to hold the distinction as the father of Iowa’s community college system. He also served for 17 years on the Iowa Lakes Community College Board of Trustees, 10 of those years as board president.

In 1966, the Iowa Department of Education officially recognized Iowa Lakes Community College. The college held its first board meeting January 1967.

In 1968 the board approved the merger of Estherville Junior College and its facilities into the new district. Emmetsburg Junior College was shortly later merged in 1970. Additional campuses were later added at Spencer, Algona, and Spirit Lake.

According to Dr. Prior, in the recently released National Community College Benchmarking Practices report, Iowa Lakes compared very favorably with other community colleges. In fact, Iowa Lakes ranked about the 97th percentile in course success, student retention, and degree completion among 1,200 community colleges nationwide.

Iowa Lakes has continued to improve and expand its course offerings to keep pace with the trends of modern industry. A notable example includes the Wind Energy and Turbine Technology program which has become the world model for training technicians for the wind energy industry.

Another example would be the Bioprocess Technology program which prepares workers for the ethanol and biodiesel industries.

There is not enough room to list the new innovative programs at Iowa Lakes Community College. But whether it’s a transfer program or professional training, Iowa Lakes offers training in virtually any field in which a student may have an interest.

We are indeed lucky to have such a progressive college in our own backyard. Now that’s something to celebrate!