Gael D. Swing succeeded Arlo Schilling in 1975 to become the eighth president of North Central College. Born in Indiana, Swing received a bachelor’s degree from Franklin College in 1954 and a master’s degree from Indiana University in 1963.
After 15 years of working in admission and development at Franklin College, he joined Washington University (St. Louis) as director of special program services in the development office. He came to North Central College as executive vice president in 1973 before being named president.
Swing responded to the nationwide financial crisis of the 1970s by expanding the College’s curricular structure to include adult education. The Center for Continuing Education opened in 1976 on the former seminary campus and Evening and Weekend College was established to respond to the needs of degree-seeking adults.
The introduction of graduate programs in computer science and business administration also was targeted to engage an adult student base. Expansion of these programs to two off-campus sites in St. Charles and Schaumburg allowed more access by nontraditional adult students.
A capital campaign began in 1982 for the 125th anniversary of the College, which led to the renovation and renaming of several campus buildings including the Clare and Lucy Oesterle Library, Harold and Eva White Activities Center, Larrance Academic Center and Kroehler Science Center. Long vacant Carnegie Hall was completely overhauled as a new home for computer science and information technology infrastructure.
The College’s athletics program gained national attention during Swing’s tenure. In 1983, the women’s basketball team won the NCAA Division III National Championships in a game broadcast on ESPN. In 1975, under the guidance of legendary running coach Al Carius, the men’s cross country team won its first team national championship. Since then, the men’s cross country team has produced 13 team national championships and the men’s track and field teams have produced nine national titles.
Swing died of cancer in May 1990.