University News

President Thomas: Year-End Letter [12/15/16]

December 15, 2016

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Dear University Community,

The end of the semester is an appropriate time for reflection. We have had a successful start to the academic year, achieving great things and earning national recognition from the Princeton Review, U.S. News & World Report, GI Jobs Magazine, Washington Monthly, Minority Access and many more. We have adjusted to the state's ongoing budget crisis by continuing Western Illinois University's mission: to provide a quality, well-rounded education to our students.

In order to provide access to education, the University covered the nearly $5.5 million in MAP funding to approximately 2,700 students in Fall 2016, and we will do so again for the Spring 2017 semester. It is the right thing to do for our students to ensure they achieve their goals of obtaining college degrees.

The stop-gap funding, as well as the recent $8.4 million allocated by the Illinois Board of Higher Education, demonstrates that there is support for public higher education in this state and that state officials are willing to continue to invest in Western Illinois University. We remain confident that the budget situation facing public higher education will improve. In the meantime, we will adjust accordingly and continue to provide outstanding educational opportunities for the citizens of this state and beyond.

We will also continue to advocate for Western Illinois University to ensure that our message is heard and our interests are represented. My leadership team and I have been meeting with state officials to urge an end to the impasse and encourage the funding that public higher education needs and deserves.

Nelson Mandela once said, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." We are changing the world at Western Illinois University, one student at a time. We are proactively addressing the challenges that come our way and educating our students for a global, diverse society. We are forging even stronger partnerships throughout the region, state, nation and world. People believe in our University, and we will not let them down.

Thank you for your dedication to this great University, and congratulations to our students graduating this weekend. I wish you a restful and happy holiday season.


Jack Thomas

Posted By: University Communications (
Office of University Communications & Marketing