Western Illinois University Celebrates Founders' Day

September  24, 2013

A ceremonial bell was rung this morning on the Western Illinois University Quad Cities campus as a remind of how the college started. Faculty, staff, and members of the community looked at the history, and also into the future, at Tuesday's 20th annual Founder's Day celebration.

Quad Cities campus Vice President, Joe Rives, says a record 1,502 students are enrolled this semester in Moline.

"Western was the first institution in Illinois, and one of the first in the nation, to offer extension courses at off-campus locations," said Rives. "Today's Founders' Day celebration marks the 101st year that Western Illinois University has offered classes in the Quad Cities."

WIU president Jack Thomas gave his State of the University address, saying Western Illinois is a good university, but has the potential to be great.

"Great individuals make great staffs," said Thomas. "Great staffs make great units. Great faculty members make great departments and schools. Great department schools make great colleges. Great colleges make great universities. And great universities make great students and great alumni."

Western Illinois University was founded in 1902 as Western Illinois Normal and Training School with 229 students. Today, more than 12,000 students are enrolled at the Macomb and Quad Cities campuses.