Appointed in 2008, Georgia Costello, Ph.D., became the first former student and the first woman to be named president of Southwestern Illinois College since it opened in 1946.
Under her leadership, Southwestern Illinois College:
- Became a founding member of the state’s community-college driven Illinois Green Economy Network, attracting grant funds to construct one of three regional sustainability centers on the SWIC Belleville Campus.
- Helped IGEN secure a $20 million Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant from the U.S. Dept. of Labor; one of only 32 awarded nationwide, and the only one in Illinois.
- Secured state funds to complete construction of its Liberal Arts Building; a $19.1 million capital project that will yield a three-fold financial return on that investment.
- Maintained its commitment to Information Technology, providing students with state-of-the-art tools to excel in the classroom, via online instruction, and beyond.
Dr. Costello first attended then Belleville Area College in 1967. She earned 60-plus credit hours while starting her family, then transferred to McKendree College (University) to finish her bachelor’s degree in 1977. In 1994, she earned her Master’s degree from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where she also received her doctorate in 2007.
As a teacher in Belleville Grade School District 118 from 1977 to 1990, Dr. Costello later served the district as Dean of Students (1997-98) and principal of Central Junior High School (1999-2000). From 2000-2005, she served as assistant superintendent at the St. Clair County Regional Office of Education. Pre-SWIC, Dr. Costello served on the Illinois Governor’s Education Accountability and Education Excellence Task Forces, and the St. Clair County Child Advocacy Board. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees at McKendree University; she is on the Advisory Board for United Missouri Bank; and she is a Lifetime Member of the Girl Scouts of America.
The daughter of George H. (deceased) and Eloise Cockrum (deceased) of Sesser, Ill., Costello and her husband are the parents of Illinois State Representative Jerry II (Lori), Gina, and John (Lindsay) Costello; and the grandparents of Jay, Jerry III, Victoria, Austin, Rorey, Danielle, Ireland and John Patrick, Jr.