University News

McCamey Scholarship Established at WIU

November 30, 2015


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MACOMB, IL -- William P. "Bill" McCamey left an impact on countless Western Illinois University law enforcement and justice administration (LEJA) students during his 32-year career, and while his life was cut short, his legacy will live on thanks to his wife, Jody, and his mother, Toby.

McCamey's wife and mother have established the William P. McCamey Public Safety Memorial Educational Scholarship in the School of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration (LEJA) to honor Bill and his contributions to education.

"Bill always felt Western provided him a wonderful education and an opportunity to graduate from and work here. In addition, he consistently stated Western provided him the best job in the world," Jody said. "We wanted to do something to recognize him for being the epitome of a good son, husband, dad and papa."

Jody described her late husband as a humble man who enjoyed doing good deeds for others. His faith, family, the farm and Western Illinois University were four of the most important things in his life, she added. That's why establishing a scholarship in his memory was an easy decision for both Jody and Toby, a thought that came to Jody a few months ago, as if Bill was talking to her.

"Bill loved the University and the opportunities provided him in the short time he was here, that I thought establishing a scholarship would enable someone else to have the freedom to pursue their career without worrying so much about finances," she said.

Toby recalls how proud Bill was when he received a college scholarship, especially when he was discouraged from applying.

"The counselor at the high school told him, 'As long as your parents … who are middle class … you'll never get a scholarship.' That was like throwing a wet bucket on something," Toby recalled. "Bill successfully attained funds to help defray college expenses."

In 1982, McCamey joined the WIU School of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration (then called a department) faculty after earning his bachelor's and master's degrees from Western. He taught courses in criminal justice management, fire administration and policing. He also taught fire administration courses through the National Fire Academy and earned his doctoral degree in higher education from the University of Iowa.

"Bill McCamey was an alumnus and outstanding professor in our law enforcement program. His legacy as one of the professors that helped lead this program to national prominence and stature that it enjoys today will forever be remembered and honored with this gift to establish an endowed scholarship in his memory," said Brad Bainter, executive officer for the WIU Foundation.

"We have been blessed financially, and what we want, we can't have; so, we decided to share … it's minuscule what we can provide to someone in comparison to what Bill provided us and what Western provided him," Jody said.

The new scholarship will be awarded to a junior LEJA or fire service major. Preference will be given to students who have been accepted or have applied to the Integrated Undergraduate/Masters Program in LEJA or plan to continue their education to the master's level at WIU, as well as those in financial need. The McCameys hope this scholarship will help increase enrollment in the School of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration, and also encourage many to apply when a doctorate in LEJA is established.

With an abundant amount of foundations, the decision to establish this scholarship at WIU was not difficult for both Jody and Toby.

"Bill always 'paid it forward.' We want to give to an organization for which he had the utmost respect," said Jody.

"He thought so much of Western," Toby added. "I think he felt that he not only gave to Western, but they gave back to him, too, in many ways."

The McCameys said this scholarship will honor Bill and hope the recipients will feel about Western the way Bill did: thankful, proud and appreciative of the great education and opportunities WIU provides.

Posted By: Amanda Shoemaker, WIU Foundation & Development (AJ-Shoemaker@wiu.edu)
Office of University Relations