Western Illinois University

Western Illinois University

Western Illinois University is a public university 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. The main campus is located in Macomb, Illinois, while 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. The 17:1 faculty to student ratio maintained by WIU is among the best in the State of Illinois.

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

In the US News & World Report college rankings, WIU is classified as a Masters University, meaning one that draws students primarily from the surrounding area rather than nationally and is committed to graduate education. US News rates Masters universities against other universities within the same region; WIU ranks in the top half of US News' rankings of Masters universities within the Midwest.

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.

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. 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. 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.

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.

Library system

Western Illinois University has a library system with collections of literature and various other resources. Completed in November 1975, Memorial Library (renamed and rededicated The Leslie F. Malpass Library in 2001) is the main branch of the library system. Today, the WIU Libraries are comprised of 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. The library's volumes exceeded 1 million as of 2002 when the library add Lucy Mack Smith's Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, and His Progenitors for Many Generations as the one millionth volume. The book, written by the mother of the founder of the Mormon community of Nauvoo, is held by just 19 libraries in the nation.


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. 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.

National acclaim

US News & World Report, 2006, ranked Western Illinois University as 70th among all public masters universities and 24th among 70 public universities in the Midwest. Western Illinois University also was recognized as one of the “Best in the Midwest Colleges” by The Princeton Review in 2004, 2005, and 2006.

Presidents of Western Illinois University

10th Alvin Goldfarb (2002-Present)
9th Donald S. Spencer (1994-2001)
8th Ralph H. Wagoner (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 ex-Marine. Female sports teams are nicknamed “The Westerwinds,” though President Al Goldfarb is currently (as of December 10, 2007) reviewing a proposal to unify all athletic team names to Leathernecks.

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.


The Department of Broadcasting provides programming to the campus and Macomb community. As of November 2006, WIU TV was ranked number one among viewership of local campus television stations in Macomb. It should, however, be noted that it is the ONLY local campus television station in Macomb.

Student newspapers

Computer security

On June 5, 2006, WIU detected a breach of computer security that may have compromised student's personal data. On June 19, 2006, WIU sent a letter to students advising them to take precautions to protect themselves from identity theft. Since that time a Chief Technology Security Officer has been hired, and the University is reviewing computer systems to enhance numerous features, including security.

Notable alumni


External links

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