St. Charles Community College History

Bill signing For more than two decades, St. Charles County has been one of Missouri's fastest-growing areas. With that growth came the need for high-quality, affordable, close-to-home and locally governed public higher education – a need that culminated in the establishment of St. Charles Community College

Creation of the District

Early classroom location

Voters created the Junior College District of St. Charles County, Mo., in an April 1, 1986, election, making it Missouri's 11th community college district. Effective Feb. 19, 1987, the name of the district was officially changed to St. Charles County Community College District. Selected as the first president was Dr. Donald D. Shook, who had previously served as president of two other Missouri community colleges.

The first St. Charles County Community College classes were held in the summer of 1987 with about 400 students. By the fall 1987 semester, 1,547 students were enrolled in credit classes, and other non-credit, continuing education programs were taking shape. The college operated out of several temporary locations for five years while continuing to plan for a permanent campus. Enrollment grew rapidly as the college developed educational programs and services in answer to community needs.

Birth of a Campus

 New campus location sign The Board of Trustees, in February 1989, chose a 135-acre tract that was destined to be located directly in the county's center of population growth for the year 2000. The site on Mid Rivers Mall Drive had easy access to major interstate highways, and its location positioned the college to be close to home for thousands of area residents.

Phase I Ground Breaking Ceremony

Ground breaking for Phase 1 of building construction took place on June 6, 1990. The new four-building campus was officially dedicated in a public ceremony on Jan. 26, 1992, and a new semester began without a hitch.

Phase I administration building construction

Planning continued for future campus growth to meet rapidly increasing enrollment. By fall of 1992, the number of students in credit classes had climbed to 4,631. At the same time, the continuing education programs were growing by leaps and bounds, serving thousands of people in non-credit programs each year, including business and industry partnerships, personal and career enrichment classes, and community outreach services for persons of all ages.

Campus and Program Expansion

Fine Arts Building completed in Phase 2

In an April 1993 election, voters in the local college district approved building Phase 2 of the campus. The college broke ground in March 1994 for the $10 million, two-building construction project that included the Donald D. Shook Fine Arts Building and a Continuing Education and Academic Center. Later, matching funds from a 1994 statewide bond issue allowed SCCCC to open a Child Development Center in spring of 1996.

Highlights of the decade included the addition of a number of new vocational/technical programs, an online library and campus-wide links to the Internet, and the opening in 1995 of the Phase 2 buildings.

Dr. Donald Shook and Dr. John McGuire When Dr. Shook retired in November 1996, Dr. John M. McGuire took the helm as SCCCC’s new president. As the college celebrated its 10-year anniversary, enrollment was again on the rise. Between 1996 and 1999, student head count in credit classes increased more than 19 percent, with 5,565 students in fall 1999 – the largest single-semester enrollment to date. And in the 1999-2000 academic year, more than 23,000 participants were served in non-credit continuing education programs.

Building for the Future

College Center Phase 3 Completion

So that the college would have the tools and facilities to serve a rapidly growing St. Charles County community, trustees once again looked to the future – this time with plans to build Phase 3 of the campus. In an election on April 7, 1998, voters approved the $13.75 million project, including a College Center, a Technology Building, an addition to the Child Development Center, athletic fields and parking lots. The college also purchased several adjacent parcels of property in 1998 and 1999, adding 87 acres to bring the campus size up to 222 acres.

New Century of Learning

Social Sciences Building Phase 4 Completion In the dawn of a new century, the college community focused clearly on enhancing programs and facilities, staying on the leading edge of technology, and keeping the highest priority on excellence in teaching and learning. Opening Phase 3 of the campus in January 2001 included celebrations that invited the community to "come learn with us" in a millennium of progress and promise. Later that year, the college's name was shortened to St. Charles Community College (SCC).
Campus Aerial Phase 3 Construction A 2002 mission statement revision reflected the “life-changing opportunities for personal growth and professional success” that have come to be the hallmark of this vibrant young college. That same year, SCC received the maximum 10-year accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. In 2003, trustees took the opportunity to purchase another contiguous parcel of land, increasing the total campus to 235 acres.

More Room to Grow

Students By 2004, student credit hour enrollment at SCC was growing more than three times faster than the population of St. Charles County, and the college neared maximum classroom occupancy. Fall credit class enrollment climbed toward 7,000 students, including more than one-fourth of all St. Charles County high school graduates.  Over the course of a year, SCC was serving nearly 10,000 individual students in credit classes. In addition, the Corporate & Community Development Division had more than 33,000 annual enrollments in non-credit programs and activities. Trustees once again looked to the future.

Visual Arts Building Phase 4 Completion

In April 2004, college district voters approved a $23 million bond issue to further expand the campus with additional buildings, more parking, renovations and roadways. Another $2 million was added to the project through the sale of revenue bonds to be funded through bookstore auxiliary services.

Ground breaking for Phase 4 buildings was held in June 2005. In August 2006, the college opened its three-building campus addition: the Café-Bookstore, the Visual Arts Building, and the Daniel J. Conoyer Social Sciences Building. More than 25 classrooms, 10 art studios, a 250-seat auditorium, an enlarged learning center, and spaces for students to relax, refresh and study were part of the expansion project.

Celebrating 20 Years

Tobacco Free Banner

In October 2006, the college dedicated the new buildings and celebrated its 20th year as a gateway for success for thousands of students and families. In January 2007, SCC took on a health-focused leadership role by becoming only the second community college or university in Missouri to establish a completely tobacco-free campus. Later that year, SCC’s Cougar mascot got a face and a seven-foot body, and was named Scooter McCougar. Scooter soon became a fixture at campus and sporting events.

Focusing on Student Success


A new mission statement was developed in 2008 to reflect the college’s value to the students and to the community. In 2009, SCC made a push to be more “green,” taking steps to increase its energy efficiency and stepping up its recycling efforts.

Celebrating the 25th Anniversary

Dr. John McGuire and Dr. Ronald Chesbrough

In April 2011, the college kicked off its 25th anniversary celebration, marking 25 years from the 1986 election.

SCC said goodbye to retiring President John McGuire in October 2011, and welcomed in a new era of leadership with SCC’s third president, Ronald Chesbrough, Ph.D., previously vice president for student affairs at Hastings College in Hastings, Neb.

In April 2012, notification was received from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) that the college had been re-accredited for another 10 years.

Long-Range Planning

25th Anniversary Tree Planting

After the 25th anniversary celebration drew to a close in June 2012 with a tree planting ceremony, 25 years from when the first classes began at SCC in 1987, a Long-Range Planning initiative began.

With feedback from across campus and from community members, new mission, vision and value statements were announced in the fall of 2013 and a strategic plan was developed.

New Collaborations, Better Access

Nursing and Allied Health Center

Areas for growth were identified, and in response to the high interest in nursing and allied health programs, SCC’s trustees and leaders were determined to meet the growing demand for careers in the healthcare field.

A collaborative initiative with Lindenwood University helped launch the new LU/SCC Center for Nursing and Allied Health Sciences located at #1 Academy Place in Dardenne Prairie, former site of Barat Academy, a 69,000-square-foot building purchased by Lindenwood in September 2012. Lindenwood and SCC signed the collaborative initiative in March 2013 and SCC is leasing approximately 26,000 square feet of space, including space for the state-of-the-art virtual hospital. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held in August 2013 and the new center now houses the SCC associate degree nursing program, as well as its Practical Nursing, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Health Information Technology and Health Occupations programs.

On the main campus, construction of a .67-mile walking and biking trail was completed by Great Rivers Greenway in the fall of 2013 as part of the Dardenne Greenway, linking trails from Legacy Park in Cottleville to Woodlands Sports Park and Rabbit Run Park in St. Peters.

Long-Range Planning efforts continue so that SCC will keep pace with demand in providing a quality, affordable college education for future generations.



April – College district established; Board elected

October – Dr. Donald D. Shook becomes first president


June – First credit classes held


August – First students graduate

November – $24 million bond approved to build permanent campus


February – 135-acre permanent campus site chosen


June – Phase 1 campus ground breaking


August – Accredited by North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

December – College relocated to new campus


January – Phase 1 campus dedication

May – Gala Grand Opening campus celebration

October – IRS approves new SCC Foundation


April – $10 million bond approved for Phase 2


March – Phase 2 campus ground breaking


November – Phase 2 dedication


February – First season begins for men’s baseball, women’s fast-pitch softball

May – Permanent Child Development Center opens

October – Dr. Shook retires

November – Dr. John M. McGuire becomes president


April – $13.75 million bond issue approved


May – Phase 3 campus ground breaking


January – Phase 3 dedication

April – College name shortened


October – College receives 10-year accreditation


April – $23 million bond approved for Phase 4


June – Phase 4 campus ground breaking


October – Phase 4 dedication


January – College becomes tobacco-free


August – First season of men’s and women’s soccer teams


October – Dr. John M. McGuire announces fall 2011 retirement


March – Presidential search begins

April – 25th anniversary celebration begins

October – Dr. Ronald Chesbrough becomes president


April – Accredited by HLC North Central Association of Colleges and Schools


August – LU/SCC Center for Nursing and Allied Health Sciences opens with virtual hospital ribbon cutting