Rockford College re-connects to East State Street. The school adds more than five acres of land, allowing for growth physically and scholastically.
Purple banners and balloons line the new addition to Rockford College's campus. A five acre donation of land, given by First Rockford Group President and Rockford College alumn Sunil Puri. He's owned the land since the early 90s, waiting for the right moment to hand it over to the college.
"I always knew I was going to give it back," said Puri. "It was not something we were going to develop. This has memories for me, from working for the physical plant, mowing these lawns. And 21 years later, I'm just happy and relieved to not be the care taker and custodian for it anymore. And it is back in good hands. And hopefully will be put to good use for the next 165 years for this college."
The expansion will allow for more space. The plan is to eventually add buildings. Those could hold more students. The college hopes to grow its Greek life population, as well as put in additional parking and a welcome center. Plans are not final yet, but President Robert Head sees a bright future full of opportunities.
"My hope is that our campus continues to grow, continues to expand," said Head. "But also continues to do what we do well, and that is to serve students individually, within the classroom. To provide them with the experiences they need, in order to be successful in life."
Rockford College used to be connected to East State Street. It hasn't been that way for 20 years. The college sold the land because it was having financial problems. Aside from a physical expansion, the student body continues to grow. With its largest enrollment in 11 years, including nearly 50 international students come this fall.
"I managed to get my nephew to come here from India and to graduate from here, who now runs first Rockford group," said Puri. "Let's hope the next generation continues in that tradition. I have three kids, let's hope one goes."
The college continues to have financial success as well. Having the funds to renovate for the third summer in a row, with improvements exceeding 1 million dollars.