Trouble reading this? Click here.



Upcoming Alumni & Friends Events

Popular Links

Director's Column

Recent Alumni & Friends Events Around the World


Visit WIU mobile, and enter Leatherneck Country right from your phone at!

WIU Mobile logo


In this Issue

Riverfront Campus Opens
Western's Past Is A "Work of Art" - In Honor of Grote Hall
Join Us In Chicago | Homewood Western After Hours Feb. 2


WIU-QC Riverfront Campus Opens, Funding for Phase II Released

Ribbon CuttingIf opening a new campus was not reason enough for celebration Jan. 17, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn gave Western Illinois University even more reasons to celebrate when he announced the release of $38 million for Phase II of the WIU Riverfront Campus.

"Today, the WIU-Quad Cities Riverfront Campus became a reality as we opened our doors for classes at the new building, and our vision for the future of the Riverfront Campus complex is one step closer to happening thanks to the funding announcement made by Gov. Quinn today for Phase II," said WIU President Jack Thomas. "The support we have received from not only the state, but from Quad Cities businesses, organizations and agencies, have kept the dream of a Riverfront Campus very much alive. We are so appreciative of this community's commitment and dedication to Western Illinois University. Western extends its thanks to Gov. Quinn, the legislators and many others for recognizing the need for public higher education in the Quad Cities." Read more.

Western's Past Is A "Work of Art" - In Honor of Grote Hall

When Brad Bainter ’79 ’83 became the Vice President for Advancement and Public Services in 2010, he began looking at pieces stored in the Art Gallery to refurbish, frame and hang in various buildings in an effort to share University history throughout campus. Some are hanging in his office, but one rolled up painting held a “tremendous historical significance.”

This particular painting of a river landscape in autumn, by artist Ellsworth Young, held particular interest to the University. In 1934, the painting was commissioned by President Morgan to be hung above the fireplace mantel in Monroe Hall (later known as Grote Hall) and would hang there for nearly 60 years until Grote was closed and demolished in 1991. After the closing of Grote, the painting was rolled up and put away in the Art Gallery for storage. Bainter and John Graham ’73 ‘84, retired Curator of Exhibits at the University Art Gallery, discovered the art treasure from this era and sent it to the Chicago Conservation Center to be refurbished, a process which took more than six weeks.



Untitled Ellsworth Young Painting


In the 1930s, Americans faced a time of doubt, uncertainty and financial ruin during the Great Depression. Many individuals lost their jobs and had no source of financial stability. During this time of low employment, artists and musicians had little opportunity for work bringing a very literal meaning to the term “starving artist.”

It was also during this time that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt established the “New Deal,” a series of programs to help revive the Depression era economy. A few of these programs, the Works Progress Administration (WPA), Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) and the Federal Art Project (FAP) focused on the employment of thousands of construction, arts, drama and literary enthusiasts and the production of many works of art.

The Young piece is from the PWAP and FAP programs. According to Graham, during this time period, University President, Walter P. Morgan, and University Art Chair, Polly Pottle, selected works of art for the University. “President Morgan was very hands on for New Deal projects,” Graham said. The programs, from the “New Deal,” also provided money to build Simpkins Hall.

The piece arrived back to Western just in time for last year’s Homecoming weekend. With the significance behind the piece and no Grote Hall to hang it in, Bainter had to decide where to place the painting. One choice seemed to stand out. “The Alumni House seemed like the best spot in order to honor the place it once hung,” he said. “We donated it as a gift.” Read more.

Join Us In Chicago


Homewood Western After Hours February 2

After Hours



Can you find this exact Rocky (in black and white) somewhere else in the eNewsletter? If you find him, email us at and let us know where he was placed. One winner will be picked from all the entries emailed on the first day of the month and will get a WIU Prize Pack! Good luck!

****Congratulations to the January winner-- Nathan Garlick. He found Rocky on the University Libraries webpage. Congratulations to the February winner-- Rob Kretzschmar, '90. He found Rocky on the Center for International Studies webpage.****


You are receiving this newsletter because you are an alumnus or friend of Western Illinois University. Email us to unsubscribe.


Back to top

Western Illinois University
1 University Circle, Macomb, IL 61455