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Western Illinois University
Western Illinois University logo.png
Former name
Western Illinois State Normal School (1899–1921)
Western Illinois State Teachers College (1921–1967)
MottoYour potential. Our purpose.
TypePublic university
Established1899; 123 years ago (1899)
Endowment$63.6 million (2020)[1]
PresidentGuiyou Huang[2]
ProvostManoochehr Zoghi
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students7,643 (Fall 2022) [5]
Location, ,
United States

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
Campus64 buildings over 1,050 acres (424.9 ha) on the Macomb's residential campus; Moline non-residential branch campus along Mississippi River, only public institution in Quad Cities
NewspaperWestern Courier
ColorsPurple and gold[6]
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division I FCSSummit League
MascotColonel Rock (Live Bulldog), Rocky (Costumed Bulldog)

Western Illinois University (WIU) is a public university in Macomb, Illinois. It was founded in 1899 as Western Illinois State Normal School. As the normal school grew, it became Western Illinois State Teachers College.


Sherman Hall

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 Freemasons' efforts on Macomb's behalf when they opened Sherman Hall's (the administration building) cornerstone during their centennial celebrations.

The university's name has changed twice since its foundation as the Western Illinois State Teachers College in 1899: the school was first renamed Western Illinois State Teachers College in 1921 and then to Western Illinois University in 1967.[7]

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.

In 2016 and 2017, WIU saw a major downsizing and exodus of faculty and staff as a consequence of massive state budget cuts and declining undergraduate enrollment.[8][9]

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.[10] The university offers a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed. D.), which was established in 2005.[11]

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.[12] 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.[12] 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.[12]

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.[13]

Library system

Four libraries make up the WIU Libraries system.[14] 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.[15][16] 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.[17] 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.[18][19][20][21]

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 freshmen, 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. Honors students complete a series of honors courses and projects and are also eligible for exclusive scholarships.[22]

Western Illinois University Quad Cities

An artist's rendition of WIU-QC
An artist's rendition of WIU-QC

Western Illinois University Quad Cities (WIU-QC) is located 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 branch 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 Quad Cities Complex was added, three connected buildings which house the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Education and Human Services, and Fine Arts and Communications, as well as the library, student services, and administration.

Student life


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 ( and their mobile apps.

NEWS3 is Western Illinois University's student-produced television newscast, broadcasting and streaming live 30-minute newscasts on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4 p.m. The newsroom, studio, and control room are housed on the third floor of Sallee Hall.[23]

106.3 FM, WIUM, Tri States Public Radio, is the NPR affiliate on the campus of Western Illinois University.[24]

Fraternity and sorority life

WIU has 5 PHC sororities, 11 IFC fraternities, and 11 UGC organizations.

Fraternal chapters include:

Sororities on campus:


Go West Transit provides fare free bus service for students and residents throughout Macomb.


Main article: Western Illinois Leathernecks

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 to 1970.

Campus safety

Western's Office of Public Safety started as Campus Safety and Security in 1956, replacing the security guard era. The department employs 24 full-time officers and operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week from Mowbray Hall on the WIU campus. In addition to routine patrol, OPS dispatches officers to the street on foot and bicycles, as well as in the residence halls nightly. Officers also perform such duties transporting money from campus buildings to local banks; providing security to athletic events and concerts; providing traffic control; providing transportation to the hospital; conducting building safety checks; hosting educational and safety-related programming; and supervising student patrol and emergency medical services on campus.[25]

Notable alumni and faculty

Main article: List of Western Illinois University people


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2020. "Western Illinois University". DataUSA. Retrieved September 28, 2022.
  2. ^ "Guiyou Huang Named 12th President of WIU". WIU News (Press release). November 16, 2020. Retrieved February 27, 2021.
  3. ^ "Fall 2017 Fast Facts" (PDF). Retrieved March 5, 2019.
  4. ^ "2017-2018 Fact Book" (PDF). Retrieved March 5, 2019.
  5. ^ "Fall 2022 Total Enrollment Up at WIU: New Freshman, International Enrollment Increases" (Web Page). Retrieved September 8, 2022.
  6. ^ Western Illinois Leathernecks Athletics 2017–18 Branding & Style Guidelines (PDF). July 11, 2017. Retrieved August 28, 2017.
  7. ^ "Historical Highlights". Western Illinois University. Retrieved June 22, 2022.
  8. ^, Cole Lauterbach. "Local officials ask Pritzker to prevent Western Illinois University layoffs". Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  9. ^ Stephen Strhaler, "Why are so many professors moving out of Illinois?" Crain's Chicago Business, July 30, 2016. [1]
  10. ^ "Western Illinois University Majors Offered". Western Illinois University. 2007. Retrieved August 28, 2007.
  11. ^ "Explore our Majors and Programs". Western Illinois University. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  12. ^ a b c "Cost Guarantee - Undergraduate Admissions - Western Illinois University". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  13. ^ "First Year Experience - First Year Experience - Western Illinois University". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  14. ^ "About the Libraries - Libraries - Western Illinois University". Retrieved May 3, 2022.
  15. ^ "Western Illinois University". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  16. ^ "Trivia 2010 - Libraries - Western Illinois University". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  17. ^ "Archives - Libraries - Western Illinois University". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  18. ^ Archives Archived June 1, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ "Archives - Icarian Center - Libraries - Western Illinois University". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  20. ^ "Archives - Decker Press Collection - Libraries - Western Illinois University". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  21. ^ "Library Collections - Libraries - Western Illinois University". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  22. ^ "Western Illinois University". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  23. ^
  24. ^ Tri States Public Radio: NPR news and diverse music serving west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri
  25. ^ "OPS Receives Tier I Accreditation - Western Illinois University News - Office of University Relations".