University News

Hawkinson African Study Abroad Scholarship Established

November 19, 2013

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MACOMB, IL -- Western Illinois University Provost and Academic Vice President Ken Hawkinson and his wife, Ann Marie, director of the WIU Art Gallery, have established an endowment to support an African Study Abroad Scholarship.

"This scholarship ties together two of the most important events in my life: attending Western Illinois University and serving two years in the Peace Corps in Africa," said Hawkinson. "I gained so much from my experience in Africa that I would like to provide the opportunity for cultural and educational exchange to students today."

Long before Hawkinson became Western's provost in early 2012, he earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Western (1978 and 1979, respectively) before completing a Ph.D. at Southern Illinois University. After serving in the U.S. Army, he spent two years in Mali, West Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer, and later served as a Fulbright Scholar, teaching at the University of Ouagadoudou in Burkina Faso (West Africa).

Hayes-Hawkinson was named director of the Western Illinois University Art Gallery in August 2012. She previously served as curator of education at the Figge Art Museum (formerly Davenport Museum of Art), and was an adjunct instructor in Western's Museum Studies program at the WIU-Quad Cities campus. Prior to this, Hayes-Hawkinson served as the curator of education at the Davenport Museum of Arts and was a curatorial assistant at the Spencer Museum of Art in Lawrence, KS.

"My strong interest in the arts provided the focus of study for this study abroad experience, while Ken's experience in Africa contributed the geographical emphasis for the scholarship," said Hayes-Hawkinson.
"It is a good time for us to establish the scholarship, and we are pleased to do it."

The endowment will award a study abroad scholarship to an African student coming to Western to study art, music, theatre or literature; or to a Western student attending an African university to study art, music, theatre or literature. Provisions are also included to extend the scholarship to a faculty member once in a four-year period, based on the same criteria.

"As provost, I feel it is important to give back to the university which has given so much to me, personally and professionally, as well as do something tangible, beyond the scope of my professional responsibilities, to support students," Hawkinson said.

"These are tough times for students, and we felt a calling to step up and support these cultural exchanges," Hayes-Hawkinson.

"Ken has for many years supported areas of campus: his department and college (communication; College of Fine Arts and Communication), the Department of History, Tri-States Public Radio, Performing Arts Society, Centennial Honors College and Veteran's Assistance, and has had a planned gift on file since 1979," said Vice President for Advancement and Public Services Brad Bainter. "Now Ken and Ann Marie have made a further investment in the institution and our students. I speak for the Foundation staff and board of directors in saying we are most grateful for Ken and Ann Marie's generosity, for the support they are giving our students and the gesture of philanthropy they are making as leaders of Western Illinois University."

Posted By: Julie Murphy, WIU Foundation (
Office of University Relations