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Centennial Honors College

Pre-Law Symposium

The Centennial Honors College will host the 13th Annual Pre-Law Symposium on Monday, February 17 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm in the Multicultural Center.  This year’s event, which entails a table fair, a keynote speech and a panel discussion, promises to be the biggest and best ever. 

The event will open with a table fair that will include deans, admissions officers and recruiters from nearly two-dozen law schools.  Anticipated invitees include: Drake University School of Law, University of Minnesota Law School, Marquette University College of Law, Indiana Tech School of Law, John Marshall School of Law, University of Iowa College of Law, Valparaiso University Law School, University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law, Northern Illinois University School of Law, Southern Illinois University School of Law, University of Wisconsin School of Law, Saint Louis University School of Law, University of Illinois College of Law, and DePaul University School of Law.

The table fair will include great food, music by Dr. John Simmons, and information for joining Western’s Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Honorary and our Mock Trial Team.  Students will also have an opportunity to meet WIU professors and administrators who hold law degrees and interact with members of the McDonough County Bar Association.

This year’s Keynote Speaker will be Ms. Heather Wier Vaught, a 1998 graduate of Western Illinois University who dual majored in Sociology and LEJA.  Ms. Vaught graduated from the Northern Illinois University School of Law and is now Legal Counsel for the Speaker of the Illinois General Assembly.  The topic of her address is “10 Things I Wish I Had Known Before Law School.”   

Our distinguished alumni panel will include:  Genc Arifi (WIU 2013, LEJA major, now a 1L at DePaul University College of Law); LaQuenta Rudison (WIU 2012, Philosophy major, now a 2L at John Marshall Law School); Arsenio L. Mims (WIU 2011, Political Science and Business, now a 3L at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law); Steven Dennis Rineberg (WIU 1998, Political Science major, graduate of Saint Louis University College of Law and practicing lawyer); and John Fisk (WIU 1977, History major, graduate of Chicago-Kent College of Law, and practicing attorney).  The Honors College is especially grateful to attorney Mr. Matt Bills, a WIU alumnus, for underwriting much of this event.

Goldwater Scholarship

For the first time in Western’s history, the Centennial Honors College will nominate three students for the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship.  The Goldwater is for exceptional sophomores or juniors who wish to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences or engineering.  Each applicant must supply three letters of recommendation from faculty members or academicians who can attest to the student's abilities and potential for a research career.   Our three nominees are: Ms. Hannah Drake, a sophomore Chemistry major; Mr. Tariq Ahmad, a sophomore Biology major; and Tyler Czarnecki, a sophomore Physics major.   

Truman Scholarship

The Centennial Honors College will also nominate three outstanding honors students for the prestigious Harry S Truman Scholarship. The Truman is widely considered the most significant American scholarship. The foundation seeks students who have outstanding academic records, extensive civic involvement and demonstrated leadership abilities. Furthermore, the Foundation is looking for students who plan to go into public service, broadly defined. Examples include college professors, public defenders, prosecutors, nonprofit organizers, state legislators, judges, etc.  Western’s three nominees are:  Mr. Steve Wailand, Chemistry major/honors pre-law minor and member of the Macomb City Council; Ms. Ashley Luke, Political Science major and post player for the Leatherneck women’s basketball team; and Ms. Datrese Hearn, Political Science major and president of the Student Honors Association.

Cooke Scholarship

Ms. Juliana Goodman, an English major and an Honors Mentor for the Centennial Honors College, has become Western’s first-ever finalist for the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship.  The Cooke is a national award for creative writing or visual arts students, based on talent, academics and need.  Recipients may receive up to $50,000 for graduate school.  It is one of the most competitive scholarships in the nation (much like the Truman, Goldwater or Udall) and is coveted by many honors programs.



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