American Football Database
Western Illinois University
File:Western Illinois University Logo.svg
MottoHigher Values in Higher Education
Endowment$19.6 million[1]
PresidentJack Thomas
LocationMacomb, Illinois, USA
CampusSmall town, 53 buildings over 1,050 acres (424.9 ha) on the Macomb campus
AthleticsFighting Leathernecks
ColorsPurple and Gold          
MascotBulldog (Colonel Rock)

Western Illinois University (WIU) is a public university located in Macomb, Illinois, United States. It was founded in 1899 as Western Illinois State Normal School. Like many similar institutions of the time, Western Illinois State Normal School focused on teacher training for its relatively small body of students. As the normal school grew, it became Western Illinois State Teachers College. Today, Western Illinois University is composed of two campuses that provide a wide range of academic programs. While the main campus is in Macomb, Western Illinois University-Quad Cities is in Moline, Illinois.


Western Illinois University is composed of four academic colleges: Arts & Sciences, Business & Technology, Education & Human Services, and Fine Arts & Communication, in addition to an Honors College the School of Extended Studies, which includes nontraditional programs. Ranked 413 among the best public and private colleges and universities, from the student's point of view in Forbes.

The University also offers a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed. D.), which was established in 2005.[2]

The University offers 71 undergraduate majors over 51 degree programs and 13 pre-professional degrees at the undergraduate level. At the graduate level, 42 degree and certificate programs are offered. 95% of all courses are taught by full-time faculty.[3]

Western’s Cost Guarantee Plan is a four-year fixed rate for tuition, fees, room and board that remains in place as long as students are continuously enrolled. Western was one of the first institutions in America, and the first state university in Illinois, to offer the guarantee.[2] WIU's program served as a model for all other Illinois state universities through the state's "Truth in Tuition" program; however, Western is the only public university in Illinois that includes fees, room and board in its Cost Guarantee.[3] Western Illinois also offers the Cost Guarantee for graduate students enrolled in a degree program, as well as to transfer students earning an associate's degree. Those students who transfer to WIU the following semester upon completing their associate's degree will receive the previous year's cost guarantee rates.[4]

WIU also provides the FYE (First Year Experience) Program for all incoming freshmen. This program is designed to ease the transition from high school to college, and fosters the participation of FYE students in co-curricular events such as concerts, art exhibits, and guest lectures. In addition to their FYE program, WIU also provides a TYE (Transfer Year Experience) program to interested students. This program is aimed at introducing transfer students to the services and resources on campus within a residential setting.[5]

Illinois Centennial Honors College

Western Illinois University is home to the Illinois Centennial Honors College, which was founded in 1983 in order to attract more adept students as freshman, as well as an avenue by which the most talented students at Western Illinois could distinguish themselves from other students at the university. Accordingly, the GPA admissions standard for the Illinois Centennial Honors College is nearly a full grade point higher (0.9) than the minimum GPA of any other college at the university, the second being the College of Business and Technology. Honors students complete a series of courses and projects unavailable to average students studying at Western Illinois, and are also eligible for a host of exclusive foundation scholarships.

Due to the intense nature of honors coursework, students vying for a spot in the Illinois Centennial Honors College should be prepared to dedicate additional time and effort to their schoolwork. Honors can be completed in many of the majors at Western Illinois, but there has not been a curriculum fashioned for every discipline.

Consistent with its mission, the Macomb Honors Program provides a curriculum consisting of special tutorials, seminars, guided studies, and research projects, as well as opportunities to develop leadership and professional skills and participate in community and social services. A unique curriculum, honors faculty, and opportunities for leadership and service are integral to the honors experience. These are critical reasons to participate in the Honors Program for students seeking to maximize their collegiate years.[6]

The prestige associated with the Illinois Centennial Honors College has led many to believe that graduates from the Honors Program receive preferential job placement, and applications to graduate schools are viewed more favorably than those of typical Western Illinois students.

Library system

File:WIU Malpass Library.jpg

Leslie F. Malpass Library

Five libraries make up the WIU Libraries system.[7] The current Dean of Libraries is Phyllis C. Self.[8]

Completed in November 1975, Memorial Library (renamed and rededicated The Leslie F. Malpass Library in 2001) is the main branch of the library system. Designed by Gyo Obata, Malpass Library stands at six levels high and 222,000 square feet.[9][10] Other WIU libraries include the Music Library, Physical Sciences Library, Curriculum Library, and the WIU-Quad Cities Library (Moline, Illinois) that was opened in the late 1990s to support WIU's growing presence in the Quad Cities.

Western Illinois University Libraries house several archives and special collections that aid in documenting the history of the west-central Illinois region.[11] The libraries are the home for the Center for Hancock County History, the Center for Icarian Studies, the Civil War Collection (documenting the western Illinois experience in the war), the Decker Press Collection and the Mormon Collection.[12][13][14][15]

The library's one millionth volume, Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, and His Progenitors for Many Generations, by Lucy Mack Smith, was added in 2002.[16]



Sherman Hall

Western Illinois University was founded in 1899. The land for the University was donated to the State of Illinois by Macomb's Freemasons (Illinois Lodge #17). Macomb was in direct competition with Quincy, Illinois and other candidates as the site for a "western" university. The Illinois legislature selected Macomb as the location. University administrators uncovered evidence of the Freemason's efforts on Macomb's behalf when they opened Sherman Hall's (the administration building) cornerstone during their centennial celebrations.

Sherman Hall served as the University's primary facility for many years, but as the University and its programs expanded, a need surfaced for further expansion. Today, the Macomb campus consists of 53 buildings over 1,050 acres (424.9 ha). Sherman Hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Western's presence in the Quad Cities spans more than 40 years. In Fall 1960, the University offered its first undergraduate course in the Quad Cities.


Simpkins Hall, home of the English and Journalism departments, has long been believed to be haunted by the ghost of an adolescent child, in a large part due to its former use as a training school. Simpkins is also said to be haunted by “Harold,” a former janitor or graduate assistant who lurks among the classrooms on the third floor and in the Writing Center. Students have reported hearing the disembodied sound of keys jingling, doors opening and closing, or a typewriter clicking, rattle the nerves of even the most seasoned educator. Another story circulating the hall is that of a woman who can be heard crying in the first floor restroom.[17] Bayliss, Tanner, Thompson, and Washington residents halls have their own ghost stories, all of which are based on unsubstantiated student deaths ranging from suicides to accidents. In Washington Hall, for instance, a girl supposedly ended her life after a fight with her boyfriend. According to the storytellers, the phone in her former room rings even though no one is on the line.[18]

National Acclaim

Currently, US News & World Report ranks Western Illinois University as 49th among regional universities.[19]

Western Illinois University has been repeatedly recognized as one of the “Best in the Midwest Colleges” by The Princeton Review.[20]

Presidents of Western Illinois University

11th Jack Thomas (2011–present)
10th Alvin Goldfarb (2002–2011)
9th Donald S. Spencer (1994–2001)
8th Ralph H. Waggoner (1987–1993)
7th Leslie F. Malpass (1974–1986)
6th John T. Bernhard (1968–1973)
5th A. L. Knoblauch (1958–1967)
4th Frank A. Beu (1942–1957)
3rd Walter P. Morgan (1912–1941)
2nd Alfred Bayliss (1906–1911)
1st John W. Henninger (1901–1905)


Inspired by the surrounding “vast golden prairie strewn with purple coneflowers,” Western Illinois University adopted purple and gold as its official colors in 1902. WIU is the only non-military institution in the nation with permission from the Department of the Navy to use the United States Marine Corps Official seal and mascot, the Bulldog. Colonel Rock, or Rocky, is the University mascot representing “The Fighting Leathernecks” for all male sports teams. Rocky was named after Ray "Rock" Hanson, a former WIU athletic director and former Marine. Beginning in the Fall of 2009 the men's and women's teams will be unified under the Leathernecks name. Previously, the women's teams and athletes at the school were known as Westerwinds.

Western Illinois sports teams participate in the NCAA Division I Summit League. Leatherneck football competes in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. Western Illinois University was a member of the Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic Conference from 1914-1970.

School of Music

The School of Music is a full member of the National Association of Schools of Music and a member of the Association of Illinois Music Schools. It offers a Bachelor of Music degree in Performance, Music Education, Composition, Music Business, Jazz Studies, and Music Therapy, and a Master of Music degree in Performance, Instrumental and Choral Conducting, Music Composition, Music Education, Piano Pedagogy, Music History and Jazz Studies. Certification as a music therapist is available through the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT).

Western Illinois University, dedicated to diversity and the fine arts, has designated four complete scholarships (tuition, room, and board) to attract international string students. These four string players (two violinists, one violist, and one cellist) form the WIU Presidential String Quartet.

The School of Music performance opportunities and ensembles are Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, University Band, Marching Leathernecks Band, basketball and volleyball pep bands, Jazz Studio Orchestra, Jazz Band and Jazz Combo. There are also a number of choirs such as University Singers, Madrigal Singers, Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Opera-On-Wheels and Opera Theater. Some of the smaller ensembles are Brass Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, Steel Band and many chamber groups. Faculty ensembles are Hopper Faculty Jazztet, Camerata Woodwind Quintet, LaMoine Brass Quintet and Julstrom String Quartet.

The School of Music hosts many festivals such as 41st International Horn Symposium, Festival of Choirs, Jazz Rhythm Section Festival, New Music Festival, Showcase of Bands, Brassfest and Jazz Festival among others. The ratio of music majors to full-time music faculty in the Western Illinois University School of Music is 6:1. The music faculty are artist-teachers of the highest quality with specialties in all instruments, voice, choral, band, orchestra, jazz, music education, history, theory and composition, music business, and music therapy.

Student newspapers

The Western Courier is a collegiate newspaper that serves more than 14,000 students, faculty and staff at Western Illinois University, publishing each Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the academic year, excluding holidays and breaks. Summer publication is on Wednesdays only. The Western Courier is the only officially recognized student newspaper on campus and is distributed free at 80 locations throughout the campus (including residence halls) and throughout the Macomb, Illinois business community.

Notable alumni

  • Todd Auer, National Football League
  • Robert F. Baldwin, Lieutenant Colonial, United States Army - Bronze Star Medal recipient[21]
  • Michael Boatman, actor and author
  • David Bowens, National Football League - Currently playing
  • Jeremy Brizzi, writer, musician
  • Lee Calhoun, Olympic gold medal winner
  • Charles P. Carey, Former Chairman of the Chicago Board of Trade and current Vice Chairman of the CME Group[22]
  • Thomas C. Carper, Chairman of the Board for Amtrak[23]
  • Kathie Conway, Republican member of the Missouri House of Representatives
  • Bryan Cox, National Football League
  • Joe Decker, Guinness World Records Holder - World's Fittest Man[24]
  • Kirk Dillard, Illinois State Senator
  • Kenneth L. Dixon, journalist in Illinois, New Mexico and Louisiana
  • Walter Flakus, musician, founding member of the band Stabbing Westward
  • Neal Gamm, Former Governor of Forgottonia [25]
  • Rodney Harrison, National Football League - Retired, current TV analyst
  • Edgerton Hartwell, National Football League - Currently playing
  • Frisman Jackson, National Football League
  • William James, National Football League - Currently playing
  • Kosuke Kimura, soccer midfielder for the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer.
  • Mark Konkol, 2011 Pulitzer Prize winning journalist (Chicago Sun-Times)
  • Gene Lamont, Major League Baseball
  • Rob Lazeo, Canadian Football League- Currently Playing
  • John Mahoney, actor
  • Jeremy Piane; National Hockey League - Currently playing
  • Mary Matalin, Republican Political Strategist and wife of James Carville
  • Russ Michna, Arena Football League- currently playing Chicago Rush
  • Red Miller, Former head coach of the NFL Denver Broncos and USFL Denver Gold
  • Dennis Morgan, National Football League
  • Rich Myers, Illinois State Representative [26]
  • Robert Nardelli, Former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Chrysler, Former President and CEO of Home Depot
  • J.R. Niklos, National Football League
  • Mike Patt, Professional Mixed Martial Arts Fighter (UFC, BodogFIGHT)
  • Paul Reuschel, Major League Baseball & National Football League
  • Rick Reuschel, Major League Baseball
  • Jeremy Schoemaker, Internet Entrepreneur
  • Mike Scifres, National Football League - Currently playing
  • Rick Short, Major League Baseball
  • Rich Seubert, National Football League - Currently playing
  • Tom Soehn, Director of Soccer Operations for Vancouver Whitecaps FC
  • Aaron Stecker, National Football League - Currently playing
  • Jeff Straub, Olympic gold medal winner in Curling
  • Marco Thomas, Canadian Football League-Currently Playing
  • Mike Wagner, National Football League[27]
  • Jason Williams, National Football League - Currently Playing Carolina Panthers[citation needed]
  • Frank Winters, National Football league [28]
  • C.T. Vivian, Civil Rights Leader
  • Hayden Duriavich, Last Living World War I Veteran


  1. As of June 30, 2009. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved February 9, 2010.
  3. "Western Illinois University Majors Offered". Western Illinois University. 2007. Retrieved August 28, 2007.
  16. [1] WIU Libraries -- Millionth Volume Digital Exhibit. Retrieved December 11, 2007.
  17. "Western Illinois University at the Legends and Lore of Illinois".
  18. Michael Kleen, Paranormal Illinois (Atglen: Schiffer Books, 2010).
  19. "US News and World Report Best Colleges 2011". US News and World Report. 2011. Retrieved May 20, 2011.
  20. "Princeton Review Best Midwestern Colleges". Princeton Review. 2010. Retrieved May 3, 2010.
  27. "Mike Wagner". Retrieved December 3, 2012.
  28. "Frank Winters". Retrieved December 3, 2012.

External links

Portal icon Illinois portal
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Coordinates: 40°28′13″N 90°41′16″W / 40.470392°N 90.68774°W / 40.470392; -90.68774