Inver Hills Community College was founded in 1970, with the purpose of providing credits for transfer to four-year institutions and preparing students for entry into the workforce. Inver Hills was founded as part of the State College Board’s expansion of junior colleges into the Twin Cities, more specifically Dakota County.
Dakota County purchased 97 acres of land for Inver Hills in 1966 from the original land owners. The largest plat was a 79-acre farm owned by Alfred and Edith Kromschroeder.
Dr. Art Gessner, the first president of Inver Hills, came up with the college’s name incorporating its location in Inver Grove Heights and the rolling terrain of the site.
The college leased space from Hilltop Elementary School to offer its first classes. Then in September of 1970, the classes started to be held on campus in the new building, now the library.
Inver Hill’s campus design has a unified collegiate look that fits its landscape. Campus buildings were built in several stages. The first six buildings, constructed between 1970 and 1979, make up the core campus structures with additional buildings added to meet the college’s growing needs.
- Inver Hills Community College was founded in 1970.
- The college was established as part of the State College Board’s effort to offer community college access to people in the Twin Cities.
- Art Gessner served as the first president.
- Inver Hills was built farm land once owned by Alfred and Edith Kromschroeder.
- Inver Hills first started offering classes in 1969 in classroom space leased from Hilltop Elementary School.
- In September 1970, Inver Hills started offering classes in what is now the library building. Classes were held on the third floor with heavy curtains defining the classroom spaces.
- The architectural firm Berstedt, Walberg, Bergquist and Rohkohl developed the master plan for the campus and won an Award of Merit for the design.
In 1990, a fire devastated the College Center building. More than 100 fire fighters, from Inver Grove Heights, Rosemount, Eagan, West St. Paul, South St. Paul, Mendota Heights, Hastings and Woodbury fought the blaze for nine hours. The fire caused more than $2 million in damage.
1966: Land Purchased
The Minnesota State College Board selected a site in Inver Grove Heights for a new junior college. Dakota County purchased the 97-acre site later that year from the original land owners with the largest plat being the 79-acre Kromschroeder farm.
1967: Campus Design Begins
The architectural firm Berstedt, Walberg, Bergquist and Rohkohl is hired to develop the master plan for the campus. The firm won an Award of Merit for the design, which featured a central mall surrounded by warm and inviting red-brick buildings.
1969: Dr. Art Gessner Hired as First President
Dr. Art Gessner is hired serve as the first president of the college. The college held its first courses in leased classroom space at nearby Hilltop Elementary School.
1970: Inver Hills Junior College Classes Offered in New Building
In September of 1970 Inver Hills Junior College begins to offer classes in the new building, now the library. Classes were held on the third floor with heavy curtains defining the classroom spaces. In its first year, the college opened with approximately 400 full and part time students. The college opened with 18 original faculty members who were known as the “Magnificent Eighteen”.
1970: Science and Activities Buildings Open
The Science Building opened in November and the Activities Building followed in December.
1971: New Catalog and College Growth
Inver Hills announces its catalog which included expanded course offerings. The expansion led to growth and enrollment increased to more than 1,000 students, which also required the hiring of additional instructors and support staff. By the time the Student Handbook was printed for the 1971-72, the staff directory included 41 faculty.
1972: Career Programs Added
Inver Hills adds career programs to its offerings including accounting, human services, health care mid-management and law enforcement. Additionally, secretarial specialty courses were added in medical and legal secretary positions.
1973: Dr. Curtis Johnson Becomes Second President
Dr. Curtis Johnson becomes the second president of Inver Hills. Under his leadership, the college changed its moniker to Inver Hills Community College, embracing the move to community centric missions. He served the college until 1978.
1974: Inver Hills Offers Nursing Courses
Inver Hills starts offering nursing classes. Occupational Safety and Health and Fashion Merchandising were also added to the business area. Additionally, the original Fine Arts building opened.
1976: Inver Hills Fully Accredited Through HLC
On March 31, 1976 Inver Hills receives full accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission, a regional accreditation agency recognized by the Department of Education. The college has maintained full-accreditation since that time. In addition, several of its programs are accredited by professional organizations including: Accounting and Business, Emergency Medical Services, Nursing and Paralegal.
1978: Dr. Wallace Simpson Becomes Third President
Dr. Wallace Simpson becomes the third president of Inver Hills. He served the college until 1984.
1979: Business Building and College Center Open
March 20, 1979: Strike
On March 7, 1979, faculty in the Minnesota community college system voted to strike. The strike, which was called to bring the state to the negotiating table to address issues including salaries, Cost of Living Adjustments, benefits and protection in cases of faculty grievances, started March 20 and lasted 17 days. All Minnesota’s community colleges closed. The strike was the first by a statewide higher education system in the country.
1980’s: Aviation Degrees Added
Inver Hills adds three aviation degrees including Business Aviation, Professional Pilot and Air Traffic Control.
1982: Inver Hills Foundation Established
Inver Hill Community College establishes a non-profit foundation with the mission: The IHCC Foundation cultivates resources to help students start their journey, stay the course, and succeed in life. The foundation carries out its work through provision of scholarships and building partnerships with area high schools, businesses, community organizations, and government agencies.
1984: Dr. Patrick Roche Becomes Fourth President
Dr. Patrick Roche becomes the fourth president of Inver Hills. He served the college until 1991.
1988: Liberal Arts Building Opens
The campus expands once again with the opening of the Liberal Arts building and the Child Care Center, which has been repurposed to the IT Building.
1989: “The Giants” Retire
In May, college administrators decide to end the college’s inter-collegiate sports program and retire the team’s name, “The Giants.”
In 1990, a fire devastated the College Center building. More than 100 fire fighters, from Inver Grove Heights, Rosemount, Eagan, West St. Paul, South St. Paul, Mendota Heights, Hastings and Woodbury, fought the blaze for nine hours. The fire caused more than $2 million in damage.
1991: Dr. Jerry Isaacs Serves as Acting President
1992: Dr. Steven Wallace Becomes the Fifth President of Inver Hills
Dr. Steven Wallace becomes the fifth president of Inver Hills. He served the college until 1997.
1995: Inver Hills Joins Minnesota State
Inver Hills Community College becomes part of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, now known as, Minnesota State.
1997: Library Building Remodeled
The first and 2nd floors of the Library building are remodeled.
1997: Dr. Cheryl Frank Becomes Interim Then Sixth President
Dr. Cheryl Frank becomes the interim president. She was appointed as the sixth president in 1998 and served in the role until 2010.
2003: Heritage Hall Opens
Heritage Hall opens and construction on the Central Chiller Plant building begins.
2006: College Center Adds Student Services
The College Center adds the Student Services area which included 19,304 sq. ft. of new space.
2009: Fine Arts Building Renovated
The Fine Arts Building is renovated. The project included new classroom space and the construction of the buildings distinctive tower.
2010: Activities Building Renovation
Activities Building undergoes locker room renovation.
2010: Tim Wynes, J.D. Becomes the Seventh President
Tim Wynes, J.D. becomes the seventh president. He served in the role until 2018. Under Wynes leadership, Inver Hills moved to a shared administration model with Dakota County Technical College in 2015.
2013: Heritage Hall Biology Lab and Resource Room Remodeled
Heritage Hall Biology Lab and Resource Room remodeled.
2014: Testing Center and Library Remodeled
The Testing Center underwent a remodel and the first floor of the library remodeled.
2015: Activities Building Lands New Exercise Addition and Basketball Court
A 3600 sq. ft. addition to the Activities Building includes new exercise addition and basketball court.