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When Cally Keefauver and Sam Webb attend and take part in their Western Illinois University Commencement Ceremony this weekend, it will be a bit of a practice run for their planned 2017 nuptials. Unbeknownst to the individuals who organize Western's graduation exercises, Keefauver and Webb have been engaged since last December.
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Soon-to-Be Western Alum Couple Will Get Practice Run at Walking Down Aisle for WIU Commencement Weekend

May 13, 2015


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MACOMB, IL — When Cally Keefauver and Sam Webb attend and take part in their Western Illinois University Commencement Ceremony this weekend, it will be a bit of a practice run for their planned 2017 nuptials. Unbeknownst to the individuals who organize Western's graduation exercises, Keefauver and Webb have been engaged since last December.

So it was by coincidence the Honors Scholars, both from Astoria (IL), were selected as marshals for Western's Macomb Commencement Weekend and that they are paired together to walk down the aisle in Western Hall this Saturday.

"Marshals are selected based on their individual achievement of earning high academic distinction, and they guide the graduating class, faculty and stage party from the processional to the recessional," explained Laurie Black, director of commencement. "When we were selecting marshals for the 9 a.m. ceremony this spring, we had no idea Sam and Cally were engaged. It wasn't until Sam said something to me after our marshal training meeting in late April that we found out. Also without knowing about their relationship status, we assigned them the same duty of leading faculty during the processional, so they will be walking down the aisle together, side by side."

In addition to being Honors Scholars in Western's Centennial Honors College and having a hometown and their college graduation ceremony in common, Keefauver and Webb also have individually pursued academic excellence in their undergraduate studies. Keefauver is the Spring 2015 College Scholar for the WIU College of Fine Arts and Communication, the Spring '15 Communication Sciences and Disorders Departmental Scholar and will graduate with the highest academic distinction, Summa Cum Laude. Webb is the Spring '15 Finance Departmental Scholar and will also graduate with the highest academic distinction, Summa Cum Laude.

The couple originally knew each from their high school years in Astoria (Keefauver transferred from Green Valley, IL to the Astoria district as a sophomore). But they didn't start dating until they were both students at Western, shortly after they bumped into each other again at a gas station in Macomb.

"We caught up, and a week later we were enjoying our first date at Buffalo Wild Wings," Webb said. "After two-and-a-half years of laughter, support and love, a lot of which was centered around WIU, I proposed to Cally. It was last December at sunset, in the snow-covered countryside. She almost stole the ring out of my hand before I could finish the question!"

Keefauver—whose two older sisters are WIU alumni and whose brother will be attending Western next year to study law enforcement and justice administration—and Webb agree they could not be more pleased about how the WIU chapter of their lives will come to a close.

"My family has made it a tradition to be a Leatherneck, and my experience at Western has been absolutely incredible," Keefauver explained. "I have grown tremendously as a student, as a leader and as a person. I love all of the professors I have had and all of the friends I have made. I look back on my time at WIU and am truly amazed at what I've had the opportunity to do. Everyone at Western really wants to see their students succeed, and with help from the faculty, I have made my biggest dreams come true. I have been accepted into the number one speech-language pathology master's program in the country at the University of Iowa. I know that is all thanks to the education and support I received at WIU."

The couple plans to wed in 2017, after Keefauver completes her master's degree. Webb has already lined up position at Prudential Financial and also has plans to help his family on their family farm outside of Astoria.

Posted By: Teresa Koltzenburg (WIUNews@wiu.edu)
Office of University Relations