Learning Resource Center
The Learning Resources Center, circa 1969.
The building currently known as the Sullivan Center was built in 1969 as the Learning Resource Center (LRC) for Mundelein College. The 132,000 square foot building replaced Piper Hall as the library and provided space to be adapted to the changing needs of the college.
Following an institutional analysis completed in 1964, Mundelein began plans for a new facility to provide a larger library and address other needs identified in the self-study. The original plan set in 1964 for the “Mundelein Resource Center” was for a ten-story building on Lake Michigan housing lecture halls, the library, and state of the art audiovisual resources. Final plans were developed with collaboration between the architects and a Library Planning Committee focused on the changing needs of higher education faculty and students. The final plans were for the three-story structure of precast concrete and floor to ceiling windows, allowing for an additional five floors to be built in the future. In an article in the student newspaper, the Skyscraper, Mundelein vice president Daniel Cahill reported that the final plans included as much space as the original 10 story design.
Mundelein College alumnae supported a fundraising campaign to build and equip the LEarning Resources Center, 1966. Mundelein College Photograph Collection
A grant from the federal government and a fundraising campaign supported by alumnae helped pay for the construction of the center. Additional funds were donated by Virginia Galvin Piper and the Paul V. Galvin Foundation. The $300,000 grant from the foundation provided for the 300 seat auditorium and audiovisual projection equipment.
Groundbreaking for the $3 million Learning Resource Center was held on November 6, 1966. Construction of the building was scheduled to last between fifteen and eighteen months but was completed in twenty-seven months.
Groundbreaking for the Learning Resources Center, 1967.
The Learning Resource Center was dedicated in October 1969. The four-day dedication began with an address by Sargent Shriver, U.S. ambassador to France and included conferring of honorary degrees, a presentation of student and faculty films and audio, and a blessing by the archbishop of Chicago, John Cardinal Cody. Students were thrilled to be able to get into their new fully functioning academic library with state-of-the-art audiovisual centers to engage in learning. The LRC was equipped with an educational curriculum library for faculty, film making equipment available to rent, and equipped booths and classrooms where audiovisual materials could be watched and heard. Their was also an audiovisual access retrieval system designed for Mundelein by RCA to allow faculty and students to borrow tapes. The technology and collections were provided to support teachers in providing the best resources in their classrooms and to encourage independent study.
The interior of the Learning Resource Center, 1969. Mundelein College Photograph Collection
An important addition to the Mundelein campus was Galvin Hall, a two-story lecture hall in the LRC with 350 orange upholstered seats. The multifunctional design supported its use for concerts, motion picture viewing, conferences, theatrical performances, and science experiments. The stage had sliding chalkboards, a motor-driven viewing screen, and theatrical lighting. Backstage areas included storage for large instruments, as well as biology, chemistry, and physics preparation rooms.
In 1991, The LRC was rededicated and renamed in honor of Mundelein’s largest donors, Joseph and Jeanne Sullivan. Joseph Sullivan was the chairman of the Board of Trustees from 1984-1991 and Jeanne Sullivan was an adjunct faculty member.
Mundelein College affiliated with Loyola University Chicago in 1991. The LRC was the site of sit-ins by Mundelein students protesting the decision. After the affiliation, Loyola converted the Sullivan Center first to a math and science library and later to an administrative hub. Today’s Loyola students visit the Sullivan Center for services such as academic advising and financial aid.
Students hold a sit-in to protest the announced affiliation of Mundelein College with Loyola University Chicago, 1991. Mundelein College Photograph Collection.