Keeping connected

Emma Lipka, IV Leader Staff

Twenty-one and a half years ago, Illinois Valley Community College hired an ambitious part-time teacher, full of promise and dedication to education.
Today, he is one of the friendliest faces around campus and just happens to be the college’s president.
Being the president of IVCC, Corcoran has the privilege of working very closely with students here on campus, which is what he wanted to begin with.
The most rewarding aspect of being president of IVCC for Corcoran is having a close relationship with the students.
Corcoran said he “could not be more proud of the students.” He “feels a great connection with Student Government and loves the Ambassadors.”
Corcoran has lunch with different students every two weeks and discusses their lives and how their education at IVCC is going. He enjoys meeting with students from all areas of life and learning their needs and how IVCC can better service those needs.
“I hope students walk away from our meetings knowing that I care and that I’m an easy guy to find around campus if they need me for anything special or just want to talk.”
With all the rewarding experiences that go along with being president of IVCC, Corcoran named one negative to being in charge.
“The toughest part of my job is realizing that you simply cannot please everyone,” said Corcoran.
Corcoran was born and raised on his family’s farm just north of Ottawa. Corcoran enjoyed working closely on the farm with his father. The two developed a very close relationship and Corcoran referred to his father as his best friend.
After graduating from Marquette High School, Corcoran studied at University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana.
Corcoran claims, “I was never a great student and I don’t pretend to be.”
He graduated with a B.S. and began working as a college textbook salesman on the East Coast. Corcoran loved being on college campuses and selling textbooks was a great way for him to stay connected to college life.
He was promoted after his first year of work and continued to sell textbooks for the next three years.
Corcoran came back to Illinois in 1990 to work on his family farm. He revealed he was glad to be home but he missed the excitement of college campuses.
In 1990, Corcoran was hired by IVCC as a part-time instructor. Working 24 hours a week in the Dislocated Workers office, Corcoran continued to farm on his land while working to earn the college grants for farmers going back to school. He remained in the Dislocated Workers office for five years.
While working for the college, Corcoran said, “I realized if I wanted to move up in administration I needed to further my education.”
Corcoran enrolled in Chicago State, where he earned his masters. Following his completion of his degree, Corcoran began working for his doctorate at Northern Illinois University. He received his certificate in higher education leadership.
Corcoran became the director of purchasing in 1996. At that time, IVCC lacked a human resources office. It then became Corcoran’s main job to create a functioning human resources office, as well as hire and train employees as the director of human resources.
In 2003, Corcoran moved up the corporate ladder when he became the vice president of business services and finance. Corcoran said while working as an administrator with important jobs he “missed seeing students.” He worked under this title until he became the President of IVCC in 2008.
To this day, Corcoran balances farming and being the president of IVCC. He has also added grandfather to his many titles. His 21 years at IVCC have benefited thousands of students and he continues to strive for his students’ academic excellence.
“IVCC is a learning-centered institution and I can assure you that I learn something new every day — the cool thing about that is how much we all learn from our students when we listen!”