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Established in 1934 at its original location at 3400 North Austin Avenue, Wilbur Wright College was named to honor the Wright Brothers, and in particular Wilbur (at that time Chicago only named schools for the deceased and Orville was still alive). Wright College’s founding (as Wilbur Wright Junior College) coincided with the 1933-34 World’s Fair in Chicago, which was celebrating flight as part of its theme.

In May 1939, Wright Junior College hosted the first U.S. synchronized swimming competition (between Wright and the Chicago Teachers’ College). Kay Curtis, the founder of Synchronized Swimming in the U.S., was a Wright instructor.       

The college grew steadily until the advent of World War II in 1941, when the campus was taken over by the Navy for use as a training facility. In 1956, Wright, Herzel and Wilson – known as Chicago City Junior Colleges – pioneered the use of television for college instruction with the launch of TV College.      

Wright remained on Austin Boulevard until 1993, when it moved to its present location at 4300 North Narragansett Avenue (at Montrose). Wright's park-like campus features five interconnected buildings that enable students to access classrooms, laboratories, and support services without having to go outside. The buildings were designed by award-winning architect Bertrand Goldberg, whose work includes the Marina Towers in downtown Chicago. Wright College, designated as a "Tree City USA" by the Arbor Day Foundation, is landscaped with more than 770 trees on its campus.       

In response to increasing demand for technical and career training, in 1995, Wright opened a satellite, the Humboldt Park Vocational Education Center at 1645 North California Avenue. Humboldt Park offers an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Nursing (RN Completion program), as well as programs in Basic Nurse Assistant, Practical Nursing, Medical Assistant, Bilingual Health Care (Carreras en Salud), Computerized Numerical Control (CNC), and Adult Education (Adult Basic Education/ABE, General Education Development/GED, and English as a Second Language/ESL).     

In 2012, Chancellor Cheryl Hyman and Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that Wright College would serve as City Colleges' College to Careers hub for Information Technology programs. Through College to Careers, Wright College works with industry experts, partner organizations, and four-year colleges to ensure its programs prepare students for success in the careers of today and tomorrow. Industry partners include Cisco, CompTIA, Google, IBM, Microsoft, and Motorola.