University News

AT&T Contributes $100,000 for WIU-QC PACERS Program

September 17, 2013

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MOLINE, IL — Western Illinois University today (Tuesday, Sept. 17) received a $100,000 contribution from AT&T to support PACERS—an academic, social and personal support volunteer-based program developed through school and community efforts and Western Illinois University-Quad Cities to help eighth-grade, as well as high school, students in the Rock Island School District (RISD).

"We are appreciative of AT&T's continued support of the PACERS program. This intensive academic program has helped many students thrive and succeed," said WIU President Jack Thomas. "Because of AT&T's generosity, WIU-Quad Cities counselor education students will be able to continue to deliver outstanding learning and development opportunities to students within the Rock Island School District."

According to Holly Nikels, associate professor in WIU's counselor education department who works with the program, the AT&T contribution has helped continue the PACERS—which stands for "Positive Achievement and Creativity Equals Righteous Success"—program, which has been in place to help Rock Island High School students achieve academic, personal and social success by focusing on academics, leadership and community connectedness. This year the program extends to eighth grade students at Washington and Edison Junior High Schools.

AT&T External Affairs Director Dennis Pauley said the contribution is part of AT&T's focus on education, specifically helping to prepare students for college and careers.

"At AT&T, we recognize that transitions are critical to progress and a better tomorrow, including transitions to new technologies and to new opportunities in college and careers. Just as consumers are leading the way to new wireless and Internet-based technologies in the digital world, it's important students are prepared to compete and lead in the new Internet economy. We believe this support will help connect these students to a brighter future," said Pauley, who is also the mayor of Rock Island.

"We are excited and extremely grateful to AT&T for their great generosity in continuing this program. The PACERS reflects the University's values and has proven to help local students succeed. This is a proud moment for all of us as we continue to support students and the region," said WIU-QC Vice President for Quad Cities and Planning Joe Rives.

For more information about the PACERS program, contact Nikels at (309) 762-1876 or

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations