50th Fridays — 1970

Posted on Feb 6, 2015

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Every Friday through December 18, we will be sharing RVC facts and photos from over the years in the Daily News and on social media. Be sure to check there every Friday and follow us on all of our social media platforms as we will be posting unique content across all media throughout the year!

We encourage you to use #RVC50 to share your memories and photos with us on social media all year long.

Today’s 50th Friday covers the year 1970.


Dental Assisting Program Accredited

The Rock Valley College Dental Assisting program received final approval from the American Dental Association’s Council of Education on February 19, 1970. The change to full accreditation was announced in a letter to College President Karl Jacobs from Dr. R. L. Matkin of the ADA’s education council. The letter stated that “in view of the excellent progress made…the Council voted to change the accreditation status of the program from provisional approval to approval.” The program in 1970 had 16 female students, and only five other Illinois Community Colleges at the time offered dental assisting as a regular part of their curriculum.

Hero Astronauts Thank RVC Students for Support

On May 20, 1970, astronaut James A. Lovell wrote a letter thanking the students of Rock Valley College for their moral support during the time Lovell and fellow astronauts Fred Haise and Jack Swigert were using their lunar module as a “life boat” to return to their damaged spacecraft to earth in what began as America’s third moon landing mission.

Lovell’s letter, postmarked at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, was in response to the following wire sent by RVC Student Commission President Randy Fredrickson, immediately after the safe splashdown of the three astronauts in the Pacific:

“Our hearts and thoughts were with you all the way. We share happiness of your families, knowing that your return was a safe one. Congratulations on such a tremendous flight. Students of Rock Valley College.”

Lovell’s letter, addressed to “Students of Rock Valley College” read:

“Many thanks for your telegram which awaited us upon our return from the Apollo 13 mission. We do appreciate your kind words, your well wishes for our welfare, and especially your prayers, which you offered, in our behalf. Fred, Jack, and I are humbly grateful to you. Sincerely, James A. Lovell, Captain, USN, NASA Astronaut.”

Apollo 13 astronauts

The crew of the Apollo 13.

RVC adds music instructor

The headline was so simple in the Rockford Morning Star on August 14, 1970. Little did anyone know that instructor would impact Rock Valley College and its music department for the next 45 years. Until his retirement in 2004, Jack Simon served in numerous positions at the College, including Chair of the Division of Art, Music and Mathematics, Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences, Band Director and Jazz Band Director, and music instructor teaching music theory. He was also the conductor of the College & Community Band and was honored as the 1991 Faculty of the Year at RVC. Even since his retirement, Simon has continued to help with set-up and coordination of the band at the annual commencement ceremony and has been passionately involved in discussions and planning for a new Performing Arts building since 1999. RVC got a lot more than just a “music instructor” on that day in 1970.

 Jack Simon newsclipping

Record Registration

In September of 1970, more than 1,200 students turned out for the final two days of registration, which brought fall enrollment to more than 3,400 students. This registration event created a new record for the five-year history of the College.

Cornerstone Ceremony

 On November 23, 1970, a time capsule cornerstone ceremony took place at the still under construction Educational Resource Center. The ceremony was to symbolize the completion of the College’s construction of its first six buildings, including the ERC. Although the ceremony was held in 1970, it would still be several months before all six buildings were ready for College use.

A special copper vault containing historical records and other artifacts were sealed in place behind the stone with the intent that it be opened 50 years later in the year 2020. That means you only need to wait five more years to see what’s inside!


RVC President Karl J Jacobs and Board member Robert Sechler at the Cornerstone Dedication Ceremony in 1970.

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50th Fridays – 1969

Every Friday through December 18, we will be sharing RVC facts and photos from over the years in the Daily...