Western Illinois University

For Quad Cities campus of Western Illinois University, see Western Illinois University-Quad Cities.
"WIU" redirects here. For other uses, see WIU (disambiguation).
Western Illinois University
Motto Higher Values in Higher Education
Type Public
Established 1899
Endowment $43.05 million[1]
President Jack Thomas
Academic staff
Students 8,694[2]
Undergraduates 7,628
Postgraduates 1,066
Location Macomb, Illinois, US
40°28′13″N 90°41′16″W / 40.470392°N 90.68774°W / 40.470392; -90.68774Coordinates: 40°28′13″N 90°41′16″W / 40.470392°N 90.68774°W / 40.470392; -90.68774
Campus Small town, 64 buildings over 1,050 acres (424.9 ha) on the Macomb campus
Colors Purple, Gold          
Athletics Western Illinois Leathernecks
Mascot Colonel Rock (Live Bulldog), Rocky (Costumed Bulldog)
Website www.wiu.edu

Western Illinois University (WIU) is a public university located in Macomb, Illinois, United States. It was founded in 1899 as Western Illinois State Normal School. Like many similar institutions of the time, Western Illinois State Normal School focused on teacher training for its relatively small body of students. As the normal school grew, it became Western Illinois State Teachers College. Today, Western Illinois University is composed of two campuses that provide a wide range of academic programs. While the main campus is in Macomb, Western Illinois University-Quad Cities is in Moline, Illinois.


Western Illinois University was founded in 1899. The land for the University was donated to the State of Illinois by Macomb's Freemasons (Illinois Lodge #17). Macomb was in direct competition with Quincy, Illinois and other candidates as the site for a "western" university. The Illinois legislature selected Macomb as the location. University administrators uncovered evidence of the Freemason's efforts on Macomb's behalf when they opened Sherman Hall's (the administration building) cornerstone during their centennial celebrations.

Sherman Hall served as the University's primary facility for many years, but as the University and its programs expanded, a need surfaced for further expansion. Today, the Macomb campus consists of 53 buildings over 1,050 acres (424.9 ha). Sherman Hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Western's presence in the Quad Cities spans more than 40 years. In Fall 1960, the University offered its first undergraduate course in the Quad Cities.

Academic organization

Western Illinois University is composed of four academic colleges: Arts & Sciences, Business & Technology, Education & Human Services, and Fine Arts & Communication, in addition to an Honors College the School of Extended Studies, which includes nontraditional programs. Ranked 413 among the best public and private colleges and universities, from the student's point of view in Forbes.

The University offers 69 undergraduate majors, over 51 bachelor's degree programs and 13 pre-professional degrees at the undergraduate level. At the graduate level, 42 degree and certificate programs are offered. 95% of all courses are taught by full-time faculty.[3] The University offers a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed. D.), which was established in 2005.[4]

Western’s Cost Guarantee Plan is a four-year fixed rate for tuition, fees, room and board that remains in place as long as students are continuously enrolled. Western was one of the first institutions in America, and the first state university in Illinois, to offer the guarantee.[5] WIU's program served as a model for all other Illinois state universities through the state's "Truth in Tuition" program; however, Western is the only public university in Illinois that includes fees, room and board in its Cost Guarantee.[5] Western Illinois also offers the Cost Guarantee for graduate students enrolled in a degree program, as well as to transfer students earning an associate degree. Those students who transfer to WIU the following semester upon completing their associate degree will receive the previous year's cost guarantee rates.[5]

WIU also provides the FYE (First Year Experience) Program for all incoming freshmen. This program is designed to ease the transition from high school to college, and fosters the participation of FYE students in co-curricular events such as concerts, art exhibits, and guest lectures. In addition to their FYE program, WIU also provides a TYE (Transfer Year Experience) program to interested students. This program is aimed at introducing transfer students to the services and resources on campus within a residential setting.[6]

Library system

Five libraries make up the WIU Libraries system.[7] The current Dean of Libraries is Michael Lorenzen.[7]

Completed in November 1975, Memorial Library (renamed and rededicated The Leslie F. Malpass Library in 2001) is the main branch of the library system. Designed by Gyo Obata, Malpass Library stands at six levels high and 222,000 square feet.[8][9] Other WIU libraries include the Music Library, Physical Sciences Library, Curriculum Library, and the WIU-Quad Cities Library (Moline, Illinois) that was opened in the late 1990s to support WIU's growing presence in the Quad Cities.

Western Illinois University Libraries house several archives and special collections that aid in documenting the history of the west-central Illinois region.[10] The libraries are the home for the Center for Hancock County History, the Center for Icarian Studies, the Civil War Collection (documenting the western Illinois experience in the war), the Decker Press Collection and the Mormon Collection.[11][12][13][14]

The library's one millionth volume, Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, and His Progenitors for Many Generations, by Lucy Mack Smith, was added in 2002.[15]

Centennial Honors College

Western Illinois University is home to the Centennial Honors College, which was founded in 1983 in order to attract more adept students as freshman, as well as an avenue by which the most talented students at Western Illinois could distinguish themselves from other students at the university. Accordingly, the GPA admissions standard for the Centennial Honors College is nearly a full grade point higher (0.9) than the minimum GPA of any other college at the university, the second being the College of Business and Technology. Honors students complete a series of courses and projects unavailable to average students studying at Western Illinois, and are also eligible for a host of exclusive foundation scholarships.[16]

Due to the intense nature of honors coursework, students vying for a spot in the Centennial Honors College should be prepared to dedicate additional time and effort to their schoolwork. Honors can be completed in many of the majors at Western Illinois, but there has not been a curriculum fashioned for every discipline.[16]

Consistent with its mission, the Macomb Honors Program provides a curriculum consisting of special tutorials, seminars, guided studies, and research projects, as well as opportunities to develop leadership and professional skills and participate in community and social services. A unique curriculum, honors faculty, and opportunities for leadership and service are integral to the honors experience. These are critical reasons to participate in the Honors Program for students seeking to maximize their collegiate years.[16]

The prestige associated with the Centennial Honors College has led many to believe that graduates from the Honors Program receive preferential job placement, and applications to graduate schools are viewed more favorably than those of typical Western Illinois students.[16]

Western Illinois University-Quad Cities

An artist's rendition of the complete WIU-QC campus

Western Illinois University-Quad Cities (WIU-QC) is the only public university campus in the Quad Cities metropolitan area, a region of four cities in northwest Illinois and Southeastern Iowa, and is located along the Mississippi River in Moline, Illinois. WIU-QC was previously an upper-division commuter site located on John Deere Road in Moline, Illinois. The campus began a move to the Moline riverfront in 2012, and has expanded to serve all levels of the college experience, from the freshman year to professional development. WIU-QC offers classes at the undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and post-baccalaureate levels.

Riverfront Hall, built in 2012 on the site of the former John Deere Tech Center, houses the College of Business and Technology, including the School of Engineering formerly located in the Caxton Building in downtown Moline. In 2014, the campus added the Quad Cities Complex, three connected buildings which house the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Education and Human Services, and Fine Arts and Communications, as well as the campus library, student services, and administration.


Currently, US News & World Report ranks Western Illinois University as 49th among regional universities.[17] US News & World Report ranked Western Illinois University as 11th in Regional Universities (Midwest).[18]

WIU has been repeatedly recognized as one of the “Best in the Midwest Colleges” by The Princeton Review.[19]

In 2016 WIU has seen a major downsizing/exodus of faculty and staff as a consequence of massive state budget cuts.[20]

Student life


Inspired by the surrounding “vast golden prairie strewn with purple coneflowers,” Western Illinois University adopted purple and gold as its official colors in 1902. WIU is the only non-military institution in the nation with permission from the Department of the Navy to use the United States Marine Corps Official seal and mascot, the Bulldog. Colonel Rock and Rocky, are the University mascots representing “The Fighting Leathernecks”. Colonel Rock and Rocky were named after Ray "Rock" Hanson, a former WIU athletic director and former Marine. As of the Fall of 2009 the men's and women's teams were unified under the Leathernecks name. Previously, the women's teams and athletes at the school were known as Westerwinds.

Western Illinois sports teams participate in the NCAA Division I Summit League. Western Illinois football competes in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. Western Illinois University was a member of the Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic Conference from 1914-1970.


The Western Courier is the school newspaper at Western Illinois University. It is published each Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the academic year, excluding holidays and breaks. Summer publication is on Wednesdays only. The Western Courier is the only officially recognized student newspaper on campus and is distributed free at 80 locations throughout the campus (including residence halls) and throughout the Macomb, Illinois business community.

Western Illinois also has a student-run radio station, 88.3 The Dog, WIUS-FM. The radio station can be heard across McDonough County on 88.3 FM, as well as online through their website (883thedog.com) and their mobile apps.

Greek Life

WIU has 6 PHC Sororities, 11 IFC Fraternities, and 9 UGC organizations.

Campus safety

WIU's Office of Public Safety (OPS) acts as the University's police force and investigates public safety and parking related problems on campus.[21] OPS publishes an annual Campus Safety and Security Report, along with daily crime logs in accordance with the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act.[22]

Business Insider compiled a list of the "Most Dangerous Colleges in America" in 2012 and ranked Western Illinois University as the #20 Most Dangerous Campus in the United States. In 2011 alone there were 8 forcible rapes at Western Illinois University according to FBI statistics.[23] WIU's Public Safety Director Scott Harris questioned the data analysis used in the Business Insider list and pointed out that there were approximately 25% fewer burglaries reported than the previous year, and a reduction in this category alone would be enough to remove WIU from the list.[24]

Notable alumni and faculty


  1. As of November 5, 2015. "Audit Report" (PDF). Audit Report. Western Illinois University Foundation. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
  2. (PDF) August 2016 http://www.wiu.edu/about/docs/Fast%20Facts%202015.pdf=19 August 2016 Check |url= value (help). Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. "Western Illinois University Majors Offered". Western Illinois University. 2007. Retrieved August 28, 2007.
  4. "Explore our Majors and Programs". wiu.edu. Western Illinois University. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  5. 1 2 3 "Cost Guarantee - Undergraduate Admissions - Western Illinois University". wiu.edu. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  6. "First Year Experience - First Year Experience - Western Illinois University". wiu.edu. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  7. 1 2 "Dean of Libraries - Libraries - Western Illinois University". wiu.edu. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  8. "Western Illinois University". wiu.edu. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  9. "Trivia 2010 - Libraries - Western Illinois University". wiu.edu. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  10. "Archives - Libraries - Western Illinois University". wiu.edu. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  11. Archives Archived June 1, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  12. "Archives - Icarian Center - Libraries - Western Illinois University". wiu.edu. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  13. "Archives - Decker Press Collection - Libraries - Western Illinois University". wiu.edu. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  14. "Library Collections - Libraries - Western Illinois University". wiu.edu. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  15. WIU Libraries -- Millionth Volume Digital Exhibit Retrieved December 11, 2007.
  16. 1 2 3 4 "Western Illinois University". wiu.edu. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  17. "US News and World Report Best Colleges 2011". US News and World Report. 2011. Retrieved May 20, 2011.
  18. "Top Public Schools". rankingsandreviews.com. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  19. "Princeton Review Best Midwestern Colleges". Princeton Review. 2010. Retrieved May 3, 2010.
  20. Stephen Strhaler, "Why are so many professors moving out of Illinois?" Crain's Chicago Business, July 30, 2016.
  21. "Western Illinois University Office of Public Safety". wiu.edu.
  22. "Western Illinois University Clery Act". wiu.edu.
  23. "Most Dangerous Colleges In America - Business Insider". Business Insider. 20 November 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  24. "Harris: We must work together". Western Courier. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
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