WASHINGTON - In celebration of 100 years since the founding of the first community college, the U.S. Postal Service will issue First-Class stamped envelopes in commemoration of this important achievement in education on Feb. 20 at Joliet Junior College in Joliet, Ill.
Using as a benchmark the 1901 founding of Joliet Junior College - considered the first publicly funded and continuously operating two-year college in the United States — the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) will host a Centennial Celebration highlighted by the issuance of the 34-cent Community Colleges stamped envelope.
"We take great pride in honoring higher education at an outstanding institution," said Danny Jackson, Postal Service Vice President Area Operations, Great Lakes Region, who will dedicate the stamped envelope at a 3 p.m. ceremony.
Popularized after World War II, the term "community college" is meant to convey the strong community connection and the breadth of services these institutions provide, from professional and career programs to community service and adult education opportunities. To sustain their commitment to the public, community colleges emphasize cultural diversity, broad and ongoing community interaction, affordable tuition, and quality education.
"We are pleased and grateful that the envelope honoring community colleges will be unveiled on our campus," said J.D. Ross, President, Joliet Junior College. "Our 100 years of service is something about which we are very proud. It is great that we have the opportunity to symbolically represent the good work that goes on at community colleges across the nation."
"I am pleased the Postal Service is honoring the 100th anniversary of community colleges with this new stamped envelope," said Rep. Jerry Weller (R-IL). "Joliet Junior College and other institutions of higher learning represent a very important part of the fabric of America, and it is my hope that this stamped envelope raises the awareness of the opportunities that exist at our community colleges."
Community colleges maintain a strong commitment to providing equal access and equal opportunities for all. AACC statistics indicate that community colleges serve 55 percent of all Native-American college students; 55 percent of all Hispanic college students; 46 percent of all African-American college students; and 46 percent of all Asian/Pacific Islander college students. In addition, community colleges enroll a significant percentage of students with disabilities and a growing number of older adults seeking "second chance" careers and personal growth.
The Community Colleges stamped envelopes, illustrated by Steve McCracken of Washington, D.C., and designed by Howard Paine of Delaplane, Va., features an illustration that depicts a woman carrying a backpack and reading a book while holding an overhead strap, as if she were riding on a bus or subway train.
Twenty-eight million Community Colleges stamped envelopes will be printed for the February 2001 issuance.
To see preliminary images of the 2001 stamps and stationery, visit the Postal Service Web site at www.usps.com and select News & Events, then click on Philatelic News, then open the Nov. 13 press release titled, "Postal Service Announces 2001 U.S. Stamp Program." All current stamps and other philatelic items, as well as a comprehensive philatelic catalog, are available by calling the U.S. Postal Service toll free at 1 800 STAMP-24. A selection of stamps and stamp products are also available in the new Postal Store at www.usps.com.