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The Junior College Act of 1965 provided for the establishment of independent public junior colleges throughout Illinois. Junior College transfer classes had been offered at Joliet Junior College in cooperation with the University of Illinois beginning in 1954. Also at Joliet, a 2-year occupational Applied Science program in agri-business was initiated in 1964, as a pilot project of the Illinois State Board of Education. The Junior College Act led to a number of agriculture programs being initiated at the newly formed junior colleges in the late 1960’s. Most of the individuals who provided the leadership in establishing these new programs had previously been high school agriculture teachers. At the IAVAT (Illinois Association of Vocational Agriculture Teachers) summer conference in 1967, informal discussions were held regarding the formation of an independent organization for junior college agriculture teachers.

These discussions led to the first Annual Fall Conference of the IAJCTA (Illinois Association of Junior College Teachers of Agriculture) in October of 1967 in LaSalle-Peru. Junior Colleges represented at that meeting were: Sauk Valley, Illinois Central, Kankakee, Spoon River, Parkland, Wabash Valley, Blackhawk, Lakeland, Danville, and Joliet. Max Kuster from Joliet Junior College was elected to serve as the first President of the new organization and James Nickell from Danville as Secretary/Treasurer. At the Annual Fall Conference in Joliet in the fall of 1968, the first full slate of officers was elected. Officers included: James Nickell, President; E. L. Rice, President-Elect; William Martinie, Secretary; Tom Hainline, Treasurer; and Max Kuster, Past President.

In 1973, by state statute, the term “Junior” College was formally changed to “Community” College and in 1975 at the Annual Fall Conference, the IAJCTA was officially renamed the IACCAI (Illinois Association of Community College Agriculture Instructors). The IACCAI is affiliated with the IAVAT and the IACCAI President is a member of the IAVAT Board of Directors. A close working relationship continues between the IACCAI and the IAVAT, with several IACCAI members having been elected and served as officers of the IAVAT.


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