WIU Founders’ Day Sept. 23 & 24
MACOMB/MOLINE, IL — In 1899, a bill to establish Western Illinois University (then called Western Illinois State Normal School) was passed by the state legislature. Macomb was selected in 1900 as the location for the new normal school in west central Illinois, and on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 1902, Western Illinois State Normal School opened its doors for the first official day of classes on the new campus.
Faculty, staff, students and community members are invited to celebrate the founding of Western at the 26th annual Founders’ Day Celebration Monday, Sept. 23 at Sherman Hall, where classes were held for the first time 117 years ago.
The 2019 Founders’ Day Celebration will begin at 1 p.m. on the front steps of Sherman Hall with the ceremonial bell ringing by Lana Myers, a retired University employee and granddaughter of Edwin DeCamp, who first rang the bell Sept. 23, 1902 to signal the start of classes at Western Illinois State Normal School. Following the bell ringing, the National Anthem will be performed, along with the presentation of colors by the WIU ROTC Color Guard and a performance of Western’s “Alma Mater.”
Acting President Martin Abraham will round out the celebration with a brief keynote to recognize WIU’s history and traditions, followed by an informal reception on Sherman’s front lawn. The Sept. 23 program is open free to the public. [Rain location: Sherman Hall Auditorium]
“I’d like to invite all members of our University community, as well as area residents, to join us on the front steps of Sherman Hall on Sept. 23 to celebrate Western’s very beginnings,” Abraham said. “We should all be proud of our long history and the strides we’ve made over the years. And while the University has certainly evolved throughout the years, what hasn’t changed is Western’s commitment to higher education and preparing our students to be successful graduates.”
A Founders’ Day Celebration will also be held at the WIU-QC campus at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24 in the Building C atrium. The program will begin with a breakfast at 7:30 a.m., with a short program to follow at 8 a.m. Additional information regarding the WIU-QC Founders’ Day event will be posted in a separate release.