University News

Ray "Rock" Hanson Vintage Collection Unveiled Sept. 28

September 23, 2015

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MACOMB, IL -- To honor the legacy of Western Illinois University's legendary Athletic Director and Coach Ray "Rock" Hanson, the Ray "Rock" Hanson Vintage Collection will be unveiled at the University Bookstore at 1:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28 to kick off WIU's Homecoming week.

Created by University Marketing, in cooperation with the University Bookstore and Western's licensing agency, Learfield Licensing Partners, the collection features vintage Western logos that were in place during Hanson's tenure from 1926 through 1964.

"The iconic symbol of Western's past is very much a part of the present, through the Leathernecks nickname to the school's mascot, and now the Ray "Rock" Hanson Vintage Collection. We are pleased to offer these high quality items featuring the University's logos of long ago. This is just another way to pay tribute to a great man and to remember our legacy," said Brad Bainter, vice president for advancement and public services and director of marketing. Bainter spearheaded the effort to further recognize and honor the famed Marine Corps colonel and World War I and World War II hero.

Col. Hanson began his tenure at Western (then called Western Illinois State Teachers College) in 1926. Hanson, who coached football, baseball, and basketball, served as director of the physical education department and is distinguished as the longest-serving athletic director at Western. Even after his retirement, Coach Hanson remained active at Western and in the Macomb community. He passed away Jan. 4, 1982, at the age of 86.

Col. Rock III (a/k/a Rocky), an English bulldog and Western's mascot, is named in honor of this brave recipient of the Silver Star citation for bravery, a French Croix de Guerre, and a Purple Heart. The intercollegiate athletics teams are The Fighting Leathernecks, thanks to Col. Hanson. His determination and persistence, along with his Marine Corps legacy, helped secure The Fighting Leathernecks as WIU's team name. Western remains the only public school in the U.S. with permission to use the Leathernecks as its nickname.

"I'd like to invite members of our campus and local communities to join us at the Bookstore on Sept. 28 as we celebrate the Ray "Rock" Hanson era at Western Illinois University and honor the memory of this celebrated man," Bainter added.

The University Bookstore is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and noon-5 p.m., Saturday (extended hours - 9 a.m.-6 p.m. - during Homecoming, Family Day and Commencement).

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Office of University Relations