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Daley College was founded as William J. Bogan Junior College in 1960. The college utilized classrooms in the evenings at Bogan High School on the city's Southwest Side. Mr. Bogan was Superintendent of the Chicago Public Schools in the 1920s and 1930s.   

A leading authority on vocational education, Mr. Bogan placed special emphasis on educating non-college bound students - those he termed "the forgotten 90 percent."   

A few years after its opening, Bogan Junior College had outgrown the limited space in the high school and was spreading east along 79th Street in trailers and store fronts. In 1970, having acquired land on Pulaski Road, City Colleges of Chicago opened its full-time "interim" campus of six prefabricated buildings and four trailers. The school was renamed Southwest College.   

It was Richard J. Daley, Chicago's six-term mayor, who laid the plans and broke ground on the current facility. A few months after his death in December 1976, the school was renamed Richard J. Daley College. The new building opened its doors in 1981.   

In October 2012, Daley College was named City Colleges’ College to Careers (C2C) hub for advanced manufacturing programs and works with industry experts to ensure students are prepared for 14,000 manufacturing jobs coming to the region over the next decade. Through C2C, industry leaders are working with Daley College manufacturing instructors to help align curriculum with new industry standards and ensure facilities provide the hands-on training needed to succeed on the job.​