University News

Welcome Back Letter

August 16, 2013

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August 16, 2013

Dear Campus Community,

I would like to welcome our returning students, faculty and staff back and our new students to Western Illinois University. I look forward to a successful and productive year.

As we begin this new academic year, I would like to highlight a few of the initiatives that help our students achieve success during their time at Western. Our newly redesigned First Year Experience (FYE) program includes two FYE courses, which are special classes that are specifically designed for our new freshmen students. We are in the second year of our "Building Connections" mentor program, which assists students with the transition to college. We continue to enhance the Centennial Honors College on our campuses by recruiting a number of students who are in the top one percent in the nation, establishing the Phi Theta Kappa Alumni Association for transfer Honors students and premiering a student Think Tank.

For 11 years, the Western Illinois University Theme Committee has brought engaging speakers, programs, and events to campus, serving as a springboard for thought-provoking discussions in our classrooms. The University Theme for 2013-2014 is "Food and Drink: Mind, Body and Soul." Watch for more information on theme-related programs, activities and events throughout the year.

Facilities improvements continue on both of our campuses. Thompson Hall renovations are complete, and the University Union phase one renovations are underway. Phase two construction on the WIU-Quad Cities campus is on schedule.

Western Illinois University continues to face significant challenges with budget and cash flow. We have worked hard to conserve financial resources and we will continue to provide the programs and services our students need, as well as meet our payroll obligations. Despite these challenges, Western Illinois University will move forward.

I would like to invite new students and their families to the New Student Convocation at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, August 17 in Western Hall, followed by the President's Family Picnic on the campus mall, southwest of the Spencer Student Recreation Center. Returning students, faculty and staff are encouraged to take part in Rocky After Dark: First Night beginning at 7 p.m. Saturday near Hanson Field and Q-Lot. You are also invited to attend the annual Community-University Partnership Program (CUPP) Block Party, which will be held from 5-7 p.m. on the front lawn of Sherman Hall Wednesday, September 4.

On Monday, September 23, we will celebrate Founders' Day to mark the 114th anniversary of the founding of Western Illinois University. We will also celebrate Founders' Day Tuesday, September 24 at the WIU-QC Riverfront campus. Families are encouraged to visit WIU Saturday, September 28 for Family Day, and we welcome our alumni and friends back to campus for Homecoming October 11-12.

I wish each of you a successful academic year.


Jack Thomas

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations