Answer Man

Here’s how SWIC evolved in Belleville

Metro-east middle schoolers learn about the real world

Nearly 900 students gathered at Southwestern Illinois College to learn more about surviving in the real world.
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Nearly 900 students gathered at Southwestern Illinois College to learn more about surviving in the real world.

Q: A friend and I are trying to figure out the evolution of Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville. Can you fill in the blanks?

C.D., of Belleville

A: It was 1946 when Belleville Junior College opened in converted Army barracks behind what was Belleville Township High School and is now Lindenwood University. Offering 27 courses, it was reportedly the first such institution in Southern Illinois, and more than 60 percent of the 169 first-semester students were returning WWII vets.

There it stayed until 1966, when it began sharing roughly half the campus of the new Belleville Township High School East and became known as Belleville Area College on July 1, 1967. Finally, in 1971, the first phase of the new college campus at Green Mount Road and Carlyle Avenue was finished with two additional phases built during the 1970s.

Today’s trivia

In 1975, who was issued special Illinois license plates with stick figures of people instead of numbers?

Answer to Wednesday’s trivia: In 2005, Pocahontas native Gretchen Wilson set a mark for releasing the highest debuting single ever on the Hot Country Singles chart when “All Jacked Up” started out at No. 21. It has since been eclipsed twice, first by Carrie Underwood’s “So Small,” which debuted at No. 20 in 2007, and, most recently, by Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” which launched at No. 13 in 2012.

Roger Schlueter: 618-239-2465, @RogerAnswer

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