Weather Updates

ECC considered a ‘Bellwether,’ names lounge

Now officially named International Lounge this gathering place ElgCommunity College's Building F has flags representing each 50 countries thpresent or

Now officially named the International Lounge, this gathering place in Elgin Community College's Building F has flags representing each of 50 countries that present or past ECC students have called home. | Dave Gathman ~ Sun-Times Media

storyidforme: 59226027
tmspicid: 21546508
fileheaderid: 10155418

Updated: January 16, 2014 6:43AM

ELGIN — For the second year in a row, Elgin Community College has been declared a nationwide finalist in what President David Sam describes as “the Heismans of community colleges.”

Each year, the University of Florida selects one community college from across America as the “Bellwether” college in each of three categories related to how the colleges operate. One category looks at their governance, finance work and planning. One looks at their work force development. And one looks a their instructional services.

Last year, ECC was named one of 10 finalists in the instruction category for ECC’s “Alliance for College Readiness” program that prepares younger students for college work. It went on to be named the top “Bellwether” in that category when the Florida university held its Community College Futures Assembly in January.

And a similar thing could happen next month, Sam told the ECC board last week. He said the ECC program “Financial Education: Investing in Student Success” has been selected as one of the 10 Bellwether finalists for this year in the Planning, Governance and Finance category. ECC officials will learn whether they have won when they attend the upcoming Community College Futures Assembly in Orlando in January.

In another action this week, the board of trustees officially conferred a name on a place that has informally been called that for years. Trustees voted unanimously that from now on, the seating and studying area near the entrance to Building F will be known as “the International Lounge.”

Sam, who hails from the African nation of Ghana himself, recommended the change.

Originally called the Instruction center, or IC, what is now called Building F has been a center of many foreign-student activities for years. When the college recently celebrated International Week, for example, a parade of students and staffers wearing native foreign costumes began in that lounge. When a student who lives in or immigrated from a new foreign country enrolls at ECC, that country’s flag is added to a line of flags that circles the lounge’s ceiling.

The flag display now has about 50 flags, symbolizing how many other nations have been touched by the Elgin college.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.