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Director's Column





In this Issue
President Thomas: Year-End Letter [12/15/16]
(Announcing a new feature "From the President" coming in future issues)
WIU Achieves Military Friendly "Gold" School Status
BOT Votes to Keep 2017-2018 Tuition Level

Fall Commencement Weekend Held
Socials in AL and FL and Cubs vs. Cardinals Baseball

President Thomas: Year-End Letter

Dear University Community,

President Jack ThomasThe end of the semester is an appropriate time for reflection. We have had a successful start to the academic year, achieving great things and earning national recognition from the Princeton Review, U.S. News & World Report, GI Jobs Magazine, Washington Monthly, Minority Access and many more. We have adjusted to the state's ongoing budget crisis by continuing Western Illinois University's mission: to provide a quality, well-rounded education to our students.

In order to provide access to education, the University covered the nearly $5.5 million in MAP funding to approximately 2,700 students in Fall 2016, and we will do so again for the Spring 2017 semester. It is the right thing to do for our students to ensure they achieve their goals of obtaining college degrees.

The stop-gap funding, as well as the recent $8.4 million allocated by the Illinois Board of Higher Education, demonstrates that there is support for public higher education in this state and that state officials are willing to continue to invest in Western Illinois University. We remain confident that the budget situation facing public higher education will improve. In the meantime, we will adjust accordingly and continue to provide outstanding educational opportunities for the citizens of this state and beyond.

We will also continue to advocate for Western Illinois University to ensure that our message is heard and our interests are represented. My leadership team and I have been meeting with state officials to urge an end to the impasse and encourage the funding that public higher education needs and deserves.

Nelson Mandela once said, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." We are changing the world at Western Illinois University, one student at a time. We are proactively addressing the challenges that come our way and educating our students for a global, diverse society. We are forging even stronger partnerships throughout the region, state, nation and world. People believe in our University, and we will not let them down.

Thank you for your dedication to this great University, and congratulations to our students graduating this weekend. I wish you a restful and happy holiday season.


President Jack Thomas

Jack Thomas

(Editor's note: We are pleased to announce a permanent feature "From the President" coming in future issues of RockeNews)

WIU Achieves Military Friendly "Gold" School Status

Gold StatusWhile Western Illinois University has now been designated a "Military Friendly School" by "G.I. Jobs" Magazine (Victory Media) for eight consecutive years, this year, WIU has achieved "Gold" School Status in the "Large Public School" category (more than 10,000 students).

According to Victory Media, Military Friendly Awards showcase the most powerful and effective programs of more than 1,200 post-secondary schools and 200 companies. Of those designated, 154 employers and 541 schools have been recognized for excellence in different categories. Levels for the 2017 awards include Top 10 Gold (a ranked list of the Top 10 in a category based on a numerical score); Gold (schools scoring within 20 percent of the last-ranked [10th] institution); Silver (schools scoring within 30 percent of the last-ranked [10th] institution) and Bronze (schools scoring within 40 percent of the last-ranked [10th] institution).

"Western Illinois University is well known for its support of active military personnel and veterans," said President Jack Thomas. "The continual acknowledgement of our longstanding mission of providing outstanding service to our students, faculty and staff who are veterans and active members of the armed forces is most appreciated. We are proud of Western's commitment and tradition."

Read more.

BOT Votes to Keep 2017-2018 Tuition Level

The Western Illinois University Board of Trustees voted to keep the 2017-2018 tuition rate level at its Dec. 16 Board meeting on the Macomb campus.

At the December 2015 meeting, the Board voted to reduce undergraduate tuition by three percent. The 2017-2018 tuition rate for incoming domestic undergraduate students will remain at last year's rate of $8,541 annually ($284.70 per credit hour, based on 30 credit hours). The 2017-2018 tuition rate for new graduate students will remain unchanged at $323.64 per credit hour.

"We will not allow reduced state funding to become a tuition burden on our students. We are dedicated to providing educational opportunities for all citizens, and we will remain an affordable public higher education institution," noted President Jack Thomas. "We continue to be the only University in the state that provides the guaranteed cost structure for all student expenses, including room, meal plan, tuition and fees. This allows students and their families to have a more stable financial plan for a college education. Students deserve access to the quality education Western Illinois University provides."

Read more.

Fall Commencement Weekend Held

Ceremonies recognizing the academic and personal accomplishments of Western Illinois University students and alumni were held Friday-Saturday, Dec. 16-17 in Macomb during Western's Fall 2016 Commencement Weekend.

958 students were eligible to participate in the ceremonies, including nearly 743 undergraduate students, including students in the Bachelor of Arts in General Studies degree program (formerly the Board of Trustees Bachelor of Arts degree program), as well as 206 master's-level graduate students and nine students earning their doctorate degrees. The combined ceremonies included presenting graduating seniors their diploma covers and hooding graduate-degree candidates.

Alumni Achievement awards were also presented to: LaVerne Council '83, Mary Huffman ‘01 ’08, Martin E. O’Connor ’78, Douglas E. Reese ’85 ’86 and Frank Stanczyk ’61.  

Read more about the 2016 Alumni Achievement Award winners.

Alumni & Friends Events at socials in AL and FL and Cubs vs. Cardinals Baseball

Join your Western Illinois University Alumni Association on our swing through the Sunshine State and Gulf Shores, AL!

Jan. 23 – Gulf Shores Alumni & Friends Social
Jan. 24 – Orlando Alumni & Friends Social
Jan. 25 – Tampa Alumni & Friends Social
Jan. 26 – Sarasota/Bradenton Alumni & Friends Social
Jan. 27 – Naples Alumni & Friends Social
Jan. 28 – Ft. Myers Alumni & Friends Social

Florida Events

Cubs vs. Cards

RockyCan you find this exact Rocky (in black and white) somewhere else in the eNewsletter? If you find him, email us at
and let us know where he was placed. One winner will be picked from all the entries emailed on the first day of the month and will get a WIU Prize Pack! Good luck!

****Congratulations to the December winner--Michelle Baker Price '78. She discovered Rocky on the Foundation and Development page.****


Travel with WIU


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Western Illinois University Alumni Association
1 University Circle, Macomb, IL 61455