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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, carries on the tradition.
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WIU Founders' Day Sept. 23

September 6, 2016


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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL -- One hundred and seventeen years ago, in 1899, a bill to establish Western Illinois University (then called Western Illinois State Normal School) was passed by the state legislature. Three years later, on Sept. 23, 1902, Western opened its doors for the first official day of classes on the new campus.

Faculty, staff and community members are invited to celebrate "The History of Western Illinois University" at the 23rd annual Founders' Day Celebration Friday, Sept. 23 in University Union Grand Ballroom on the Macomb campus, and at 7:30 a.m. Monday, Sept. 26 in the Rock Island County Board Community Room (Rms. 103/104) in Riverfront Hall on the WIU-QC campus.



Doors will open at 11:15 a.m., with the luncheon beginning at 11:30 a.m. The luncheon ($10 per person; $5/WIU student) includes the choice of chicken parmesan or vegetarian stuffed peppers, served with a tossed salad, roasted potatoes and vegetable medley. Registration for the Macomb event may be made online (register by Wednesday, Sept. 21) at https://www.wiu.com/alumni. Individuals also may register by contacting Alexa Ashenhurst at (309) 298-1874 or AL-Ashenhurst@wiu.edu. Additional information regarding the WIU-QC Founders' Day event will be posted in a separate release. 



The Sept. 23 program, including President Jack Thomas' State of the University address, will begin at 12:10 p.m. Gallery seating will be available for those who are unable to attend the luncheon. A reception, complete with "birthday" cake, will follow at 1 p.m. in the University Union Brattain Lounge. 


Included in the Founders' Day program will be the processional and introduction of the stage party, music by the University Singers and the traditional ringing of the bell 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. 



Interim Provost and Academic Vice President Kathy Neumann will serve as host and emcee, and faculty, civil service and administrative personnel who have received distinguished awards and service awards will be recognized. 



The Founders' Day event, which began in 1994, celebrates the beginning of the University that evolved from the Western Illinois Normal and Training School with 229 students to today's University, which offers a comprehensive curriculum to more than 10,000 students. 



Thomas' State of the University address will be available online at wiu.edu/unews/lectures following the celebrations.

Posted By: WIU News (U-Relations@wiu.edu)
Office of University Relations