University News

Centennial Honors Scholarship Recipients Excel at WIU

April 26, 2013

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MACOMB, IL – When Western Illinois University rolled out its new Centennial Honors Scholarship, 23 high school seniors who were offered the full tuition, fees and room and board four-year scholarship enrolled at Western and began their college career in August 2012.

Megan Opiekun, a freshman Centennial Scholar from Burlington, IA, said that being selected as a Centennial Scholar is an honor.

"I wanted to go to Western because it's close to my hometown and I loved the campus. The Centennial Scholarship made it possible for me to enroll," Opiekun said. "I would advise prospective high school students to visit the colleges they are interested in. When I visited Western, I immediately loved the campus and knew this was a place I could spend four years of my life. If incoming freshman get a chance to be part of the Honors College at Western, they should definitely take advantage. The professors and advisers take a personal interest in each and every member of the Honors College."

Matt Clemmens, a freshman Centennial Scholar from Macomb, said that to him being a Centennial Scholar means being a student "who shows a drive to learn."

"I'm taking classes that are challenging, and a lot more is expected from me," he said. "I chose Western because it was the best value. None of the other schools were able to assist me financially as much as Western was."

Since the initial scholarship offerings in Fall 2012, Western recently extended its 100th offer for the Centennial Honors Scholarship for Fall 2013. High school students with an ACT score of 32 or higher (top 1 percent of test-takers in the nation), and a grade point average of 3.5 or higher are eligible for the scholarship. Of the 100 scholarship offers, 40 high school seniors have accepted for Fall 2013. For more information on the Centennial Honors Scholarship, contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at (309) 298-3100 or email Additional scholarship opportunities can be found by visiting

In addition to the University's Centennial Honors Scholarships, WIU offers Commitment Scholarships, which reward students with excellent academic ability who demonstrate achievement in high school by offering four-year scholarships towards the cost of attendance at Western. New freshmen who submit all application materials for admission by May 15 are automatically considered for Western Commitment Scholarships. No separate scholarship application is required for the awards, which are based on student's high school GPA and ACT/SAT score. For more information on Western Commitment Scholarships, visit

2013 Centennial Honors Scholarship recipients include (by county):

Alsip - Zachary Abbott, Allen B. Shepard High School
Evergreen Park - Brenna Smith, Mother McAuley High School
Lansing - Kevin Terpstra, Illiana High School
Niles - William J. Hilger, Notre Dame College Prep

Glendale Heights - Jose Garcia, Glenbard West High School
Hanover Park - Jillian Escobar, Narrow Way Christian Academy
Naperville - Madeline Olejnik, Naperville North High School
Villa Park - Katie Kielminski, Willowbrook High School

Smithfield - Sara White, Cuba Community High School

Carrollton - Tyler Evans, Carrollton High School

Hamilton - Jared Wiemann, Hamilton High School

Aurora - Madeline Zehnal, Waubonsie Valley High School
Elgin - Mario Calero, South Elgin High School
South Elgin - Rosetta Rubino, South Elgin High School

Grayslake - Martin Buckley, Carmel Catholic High School

Macomb - Bryce Conrad and Haley Hannant, Macomb High School

Glen Carbon - Brandon Morse, Glen Carbon High School

Sherrard - Thaddius Goldner, Sherrard High School

Hampton - Emily Thomas, United Township High School
Moline - Samantha Lindholm, Moline High School
Rock Island - Mason Moss, Rock Island High School

O'Fallon - Wade Sweger, O'Fallon Township High School

Sterling - Duncan Gingrich, Sterling High School

Homer Glen - Raymond Sullivan, Lockport Township High School East

Cedar Lake, IN - Sara Kish, Crown Point High School

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations