Western Illinois University: Macomb Campus
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Richard Guerine Art Scholarship
1972 fine arts graduate Rich Guerine says “Western was one of the best times of my life.” Guerine’s diverse career includes military service, professional car racing, law school, the insurance industry, contract work, and property management.
Following a previous undergraduate degree from Parsons College (Fairfield, Iowa) and a tour of Viet Nam, Guerine came to Western seeking a degree in secondary education. After taking some general courses and a few of particular interest, including art history and sculpture, he switched directions and completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in fine art. “I finally was given a chance to use my creative abilities,” said Guerine. “I never knew how much I loved art until I came to Western.”
While studying at Western, Guerine was very active with the veteran’s club, was president of Kappa Pi for two years, and involved in the testing of board games with professor
Sam Parker. He also worked on outside projects with professor Don Crouch,
This love, of Western and of art, has been steadfast for more than 35 years. Although Guerine went on to earn a master’s degree and attend law school elsewhere, his positive feelings for Western continued to evolve.
“At Western, I was accepted on an equal basis and treated as an equal. The professors all treated me like a person, not just a student, and were genuinely interested in me and in what I thought. You have to remember what was going on in the world then, and the fact that I had served in Viet Nam,” Guerine stated. “This could not have happened anywhere else but at Western. In many places at the time, veterans of Viet Nam were not respected or treated. This was not true at Western, and I was blown away by how well I was treated by the professors and the townsfolk. Macomb is a friendly community, and I really liked and enjoyed the people.” Guerine says he was called the “redneck of the art department” because of his military hair cut.
Guerine has been generous in his support of the art department over the years, supporting the general needs of the department, the art gallery, and the Welsh American Printmaking Scholarship. In 2010, Guerine committed $200,000 of his estate to provide scholarships for art students.
“I suspect the art department receives few private gifts, and an art degree may not be perceived as a degree with a high earning potential, but just maybe someone like me will be able to earn this degree and love it as I have. Perhaps someone who otherwise would not have the chance, will, by my gift, be able to study art,” Guerine said.
“We are grateful to Rich for his exceptional generosity,” said College of Fine Arts and Communication dean Paul Kreider. “Because of Rich, future students will be able to develop their talent and pursue their passion, free from financial worry. The impact of this gift will be tremendous.”
“My hope for the gift is that someone who couldn’t afford to go to school on their own will be able to, and I hope they enjoy Western as much as I did,” Guerine said. “I can think of no better way to utilize my resources.”