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MCC Unveils Plans to Launch New University Center in Woodstock, Partners with Aurora University to Offer Four-Year Degrees

The pathway to completing four-year degrees across McHenry County just got straighter and smoother. MCC announced its intentions to start a University Center in Woodstock beginning this Summer, providing local students the opportunity to obtain a bachelor’s degree from partnering universities while remaining in McHenry County to learn. This initiative will make the dream of a bachelor’s degree achievable to all residents of the county, removing the sometimes-overwhelming barrier of having to travel to pursue a degree.

Located in a historic building in the heart of downtown Woodstock, the University Center at MCC has been the home of Aurora University Woodstock Center since 2009. In cooperation with Aurora University (AU), MCC will purchase the space and transition it to the University Center at MCC, adding additional partner universities while continuing to collaborate with AU in offering their degree programs already in place.

“Students finishing their associate’s degrees at MCC, or community members who have stopped out to work or raise families after completing parts of degrees, deserve a local opportunity to complete bachelor’s and master’s degrees,” said MCC President, Dr. Clint Gabbard. “Instead of ignoring the barriers facing folks in dealing with work, family, distance barriers, this University Center at MCC will build an exciting, essential bridge to degree completion, in the heart of our community. The future of higher education will constantly need new solutions to old problems, and the MCC University Center is one more step in making what seemed overwhelmingly challenging to our students now immensely possible,” Gabbard added.

The MCC Board of Trustees unanimously approved a purchase agreement at its regular Board Meeting on Thursday, March 23, unanimously supporting the process of purchasing the building and pursuing all work on the University Center at MCC transformation.

Aurora University will be MCC’s first partner to offer several exciting degree programs that will help students prepare for some of the county’s most in-demand occupations, including Elementary Education and Social Work.

“Aurora University’s leadership deserves so much credit for beginning this idea by planting several Aurora undergraduate and graduate degree programs in our community,” Gabbard shared. “We will be forever grateful for their vision, and for the tremendous partnership and support we have received from the AU Board, administration, and former President, Dr. Rebecca Sherrick.”

“AU is proud to have provided educational opportunities to students at the Woodstock Center since 2009. We are honored to be a founding partner in this exciting new initiative with MCC and look forward to building our legacy of academic excellence in the region,” said John Ammons, Chair of Aurora University’s Board of Trustees.

In addition to the University Center at MCC’s founding partnership with Aurora University, MCC is finalizing agreements with several other universities in Illinois. Each of these universities will offer their own degree programs, providing an array of opportunities for prospective students.

The new Center will provide critical onsite resources to help transfer students succeed, including advisors to assist in the transfer planning process. The purchase and renovation of the center will be funded by a combination of private philanthropic gifts, grant funding, and College capital funds. 

“We are excited to support this important new asset for students of all ages in McHenry County,” expressed friends and supporters of MCC, Greg, and Dana Gliniecki. “It truly changes the landscape for higher education locally and benefits the entire community.”

With the University Center’ at MCC opening, McHenry County College will become one of only a few community colleges in Illinois connecting graduates with bachelor’s and master’s completion programs in the same community where they already work and live, expanding the accessibility to education for all citizens of McHenry County.

“We have taken to thinking of the University Center as the further ‘democratization of education’. Anyone and everyone who aspires to complete degrees should be given that chance,” shared Gabbard. “These degrees change the trajectory of people’s future for a lifetime. And there is a strong likelihood that University Degree earners will settle in to live, work, and raise families in McHenry County.”