Advancement & Public Services

A Look Back at WIU Through the Years images

May 6-12


May 8: Senate Passes Bill for State Normal School

Thanks to the joint efforts of Western Illinois State Normal School President Henninger and former Illinois House Speaker, United States Senator and Macomb native L.Y. Sherman, a new bill was passed in the Illinois Senate that provided funding to give the school a stable financial base for its first years of operation. The bill provided Western with $210,185 in funding, which was to be spent on completing the Main Building, groundskeeping and beautification, and purchasing books for the library.

May 10: Western's First Baseball Game

The first-ever baseball game was played on this day in history. The State Normal School team’s inexperience was evident, as they were beaten by Roseville High School, 35-5.

May 11: Biology Department Plants Garden

The school’s Biology Department, led by Professor Roberts, planted a garden to be used for study and experimentation. The original garden plot was 25 by 10 feet, and was located west of the Main Building on West Avenue.


May 7: Tabunar Wins Midwest Region Oratory Competition

Western Illinois foreign exchange student Gabino Tabunar of the Philippines won first place at the Midwest Region Oratory Contest. He defeated students from five other states.

May 9: Advertising Trip Organized by Normal School Faculty

In an effort to create more interest in Western, six faculty and Caroline Grote traveled to 21 high schools around the western Illinois region to discuss the benefits of becoming an educator and the need for teachers.

May 11: Talk Given on President Lincoln and Christianity

F. Johnson, secretary of the Board of Temperance for the Presbyterian Church in North America, spoke to faculty and students about President Abraham Lincoln and how his religion made him into one of history’s greatest Americans.


May 6: Tri Sigs Hold Annual "Sigma Sing"

Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority held their annual “Sigma Sing.” Martha Brown, an Alpha Sigma Tau, won the contest for her rendition of “I’ll Never Walk Alone.”

May 10: Western State Receives Accreditation by the American Association of University Women

Western Illinois State College received accreditation by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), which allowed female students to join the society upon graduating. The AAUW worked to encourage the development of female equality through what they considered a “proper” education. The AAUW first granted accreditation to liberal arts colleges before broadening their standards to offer accreditation to public colleges and universities.


May 6: Leatherneck Men's Golf Win Conference Title

For the third consecutive year, the WIU men’s golf team, led by Coach Harry Mussato, won the Mid-Continent Conference. The win marked the 13th title for Mussatto during his 17 years at Western.

May 7: Shannahan Elected as Student Board of Governors Representative

Tim Shannahan was elected to replace Scott Clark as the student representative to the school’s Board of Governors.

May 11: City Passes Laws to Curb Underage Drinking

Due to what city council members called an “enormous” increase in underage drinking, the city of Macomb passed several new laws. Some of the new laws included raising the fine for underage consumption from $15 to $25, increasing the fine for purchasing alcohol for a minor from $25 to $50, and implementing a $500 fine for having a keg at a private residence without a license from the city.

April 22-28


April 22: Normal School Hosts Elections

Western Illinois State Normal School was used as a polling place for the city of Macomb and McDonough County elections.

April 28: President Henninger Attends Meeting of Normal School Presidents

Normal School President John Henninger left for Springfield where he attended a meeting with other Illinois normal school presidents and the Board of State Normal Schools.


April 22: Housing Becomes a Problem at Western

Western Illinois State Normal School’s one dormitory building, Monroe Hall, was filled to capacity (106 students) within a day of registration for the upcoming Fall 1921 term. Many students who were too late to register requested that the school construct more housing. Students were also offered the option to rent a room from a boarding house or local family.

April 25: Alumni Picnic Held

More than 40 alumni and their families gathered in Chandler Park for a spring picnic.

April 27: Senate Passes Funding for Normal Schools

The Illinois State Senate passed a special bill approving immediate funding for faculty salaries at the state’s normal schools. Western received $15,000, which translated into a 30 percent pay raise for the faculty. The bill also provided funding for an additional 30 percent pay raise in the fall.


April 22: Pensinger Breaks High Jump Record

Western State College’s Jack Pensinger, a sophomore from Canton, IL, broke the school record in the high jump. He recorded a jump of 6 feet 6 ½ inches at a track meet at the Iowa State Teachers College (now University of Northern Iowa) and won the whole event.

April 23: Alumni Club Holds Meeting

The Western Illinois State College Alumni Club held their spring meeting. At the meeting, they heard about the graduating class, discussed the new science building and watched a film about Western’s first 50 years.

April 26: Training School Students Receive Vaccinations

Students from Western’s training school received free vaccinations courtesy of the Macomb Area Parent-Teacher Association. Immunizations against both diphtheria and tetanus were given to 536 students from all grade levels.


April 22: Congressman Railsback Speaks at Western

Illinois Congressman Tom Railsback visited Macomb and spoke at the University Union about President Reagan’s economic strategy to pull the country out of a recession and how “extraordinary” it was since it brought both parties together to pass a budget.

April 24: Western Professor Awarded Grant from NASA

WIU Math Professor William McBride was awarded a $22,000 grant from NASA for his work with solution algorithms for the FEM (Finite Element Machine) project. FEM was used to solve structural analysis problems, and NASA used it when building many of their space crafts and satellites.

April 27: Four Bars Closed Due to Underage Drinking

Four Macomb Bars (The Gin Mill, The Regulator, TC’s and Harper’s Bizarre) were all closed for a week due to Macomb police finding multiple underage WIU students drinking in the bars. The Gin Mill was closed for an additional week for announcing over the bar’s PA system that police were in the building looking for underage drinkers during the sting.

April 15-21


April 15: Lincoln Honored by School

In honor of the anniversary of President Lincoln’s assassination, all flags flew at half-mast.

April 17: Trustees Discuss Construction of Main Building

The Western Illinois State Normal School’s Board of Trustees met in Macomb for their regular meeting. The main topic discussed was the ongoing construction of the Main Building (Sherman Hall). Board President Charles Searle reported that the building was on schedule, and that since its opening in September 1902, $135,163 had been spent on construction costs. President Henninger reported that he would be traveling to Springfield to request an additional $200,000 for construction funds.

April 18: Normal School Presidents Visit Western

Presidents from three other state normal schools (John Cook of Northern Illinois, Daniel Parkinson of Southern Illinois, and Livingston Lord of Eastern Illinois) toured the Western Illinois State Normal School campus. After the tour, President Henninger hosted a dinner and reception for the presidents at his home.


April 16: YWCA and Orchestra Hold Concert

The YWCA held a concert for the morning chapel session. The singers were accompanied by the school’s orchestra.

April 18: Students Write to State Legislature

More than 200 students, led by fellow students Gabino Tabunar and Mary Bennett, signed a petition and sent a letter to the Illinois State Legislature demanding that salaries for Western’s faculty be raised. The letter stated how the school benefitted the region and the state, such as enrolling 19,234 students since its opening and the school’s work in pioneering extension work in surrounding communities. The students also cited more than 12 public school districts in the state where teachers and administrators were paid more than Western's faculty.

April 21: Teachers Win Baseball Tournament

A baseball tournament was held for all groups at the normal school, and after two days of play, the women faculty and teachers team claimed the championship title.


April 16: Western Opens Baseball Season with Win

After missing the first five games of the year due to bad weather, the Leathernecks baseball team was finally able to take the field at home against Quincy College and won 8-6.

April 17: Science Building's Construction Delayed

A bill that would have provided funding for the construction of a new science building at Western Illinois State College was voted down by the Illinois State Senate. The legislature noted the need to keep a small state budget as the main reason. The building had already been approved by the State Teachers Colleges Board the previous March.

April 18: Western and Macomb Celebrate General's Return

Upon hearing the news that Gen. Douglas MacArthur had landed safely in San Francisco, the bells of Sherman Hall, along with most churches in Macomb, rang for several minutes to celebrate his return.


April 15: Students Vote No on Campus/City Bus Service

After several months of planning and debate, the students voted 1840-495 against installing a bus service for the WIU campus. The biggest reasons for the vote were the belief that a bus service was unnecessary for a campus of Western’s size and the possibility of increased student fees.

April 20: Track Team Qualifies for Nationals in Four Events

After a meet at Kansas State, the Leathernecks men’s track team sent four teams to the NCAA Division II National Track Championships. Qualifying individuals/events were Kerry Rice in the long jump and Devin Heaseley in the javelin throw, the 4x100 meter relay team and the 4x400 meter relay team. The 4x400 team was ranked number one at nationals with a qualifying time of 3:13.

April 8-14


April 10: Literary Societies Hold Baseball Games

The Emersonian and Platonian literary societies competed in a double-header baseball game, with The Platonians winning the first game by 25-10. The second game was cancelled due to rain.

April 11: Professor Bayliss Leads School System Reform

Professor Alfred Bayliss was in Springfield as part of a joint meeting between the state legislature and the State Board of Education. Bayliss was the leader of a plan to restructure Illinois public school systems, which included consolidating all country schools into one public school per township, with a high school being placed in the nearest “settlement of decent size.”


April 9: Students Tour New School

Cora Hamilton, along with 15 Normal School students, traveled to Avon, IL to tour the newly-completed high school building.

April 12: Western Personnel Meet with Governor Small

Professors Currens, Simpkins and Hursh, along with representatives from all other state normal schools, met with Illinois Governor Lennington Small in Springfield to discuss increasing teacher salaries to match cost of living increases and to make the salaries comparable to normal schools in neighboring states.


April 10: Western Celebrates Hanson's 25 Years

A banquet was held in Morgan Gym in honor of the 25th anniversary of Athletics Director Ray “Rock” Hanson’s hiring at Western. Hanson began coaching football, basketball and baseball at Western in 1926. One year later, he received permission to change the name of the school’s athletic teams to the Leathernecks. He was named athletic director in 1946.

April 12: Group From State Legislature Give Demonstration

Fifteen members of the Illinois House and Senate stopped at Western Illinois State College as part of a tour of Illinois public higher education institutions. This group gave demonstrations to educate the public on how the state legislature functioned during a typical session.

April 14: Orchestra Leaves on Annual Tour

The Western Illinois State University Orchestra departed for their fifth annual spring tour, which included performances at 12 high schools in Galesburg and the Tri-Cities during the four-day tour.


April 8: Biology Students Pioneering New Deer Aging Technique

Tim Howe and Jack Grubaugh, graduate students in the WIU biology department, began experimenting with a new way of determining the age of whitetail deer. Their method involved extracting teeth from a dead deer, decalcifying the teeth and cutting the teeth into sections, and then counting the rings.

April 9: Sigma Nu Establishes Chapter

Western added a new fraternity to its Greek system with the installation of a chapter of the national fraternity, Sigma Nu. Fourteen members were initiated by national representatives.

April 11: Student Tenant Union Starts Publication

The Student Tenant Union (STU) released the first issue of its new publication, The Off-Campus Voice, which was released every three months and featured student surveys, STU news, housing openings and information about Macomb landlords and rental companies.