University News

Nardelli: 2019 WIU Homecoming Grand Marshal

September 13, 2019

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MACOMB IL – Western Illinois University Hall of Famer and former Leatherneck Football captain, Honorary Doctorate recipient and College of Business and Technology Distinguished Alumnus Bob Nardelli has been named the 2019 Homecoming Parade grand marshal.

The Homecoming Parade will begin at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 5. Homecoming events kick off Sept. 26 with "Town & Gown." In addition to being this year's grand marshal, Nardelli will be inducted into the WIU Athletics Hall of Fame during Homecoming weekend.

The former CEO of GE Power Systems, Home Depot and Chrysler, Nardelli was a three-year letterman on the Leatherneck Football Team, and was a starting left guard of the 1969 team that won the final IIAC championship. He also served as co-captain of the 1970 team, and was an active member of Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) fraternity at WIU.

"We are thrilled to recognize our distinguished alumnus Bob Nardelli as this year's grand marshal," said WIU Alumni Programs Director Amy Spelman. "Bob has been a loyal and dedicated Leatherneck for many years. He never hesitates to talk about how his alma mater prepared him for his career, and what Western means to him and his family. It's with great pride that we honor Bob as this year's grand marshal."

Nardelli received his bachelor's degree in business in 1971. He began his career with GE following graduation, advancing through the ranks of the company, before being named CEO of GE Power Systems in 1993. Nardelli grew the company's earnings from $5 billion to $20 billion in just a few years.

As CEO of Home Depot from 2000-2007, Nardelli helped grow the retail corporation to a $90 billion company. Under his leadership, the company added 1,000 new stores and more than 135,000 jobs. The son of a veteran, Nardelli made it his mission at Home Depot to hire veterans. Following his time at Home Depot, he served as chairman and CEO and as a member of the Board of Managers of Chrysler, LLC from 2007-2009. President Barack Obama credited Nardelli with saving Chrysler.

He left Chrysler to serve as CEO and senior adviser of Cerberus Operations Advisory Company. After eight years, he decided to branch out on his own and founded XLR-8 LLC, an investment and advisory company, where he remains as the company's CEO.

Nardelli is a member of the WIU President's National Advisory Board, served as an honorary co chair of WIU's $25 million Centennial Campaign, which concluded in December 2000 and served on the College of Business and Technology Advisory Board. In 1998, he established an endowed scholarship for student athletes majoring in business. While a student at Western, he was a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity.

Nardelli serves as a Senior Advisor to SAP, EY, Emigrant Capital Corp, among others plus a number of equity investments. He is a frequent co-host with Maria Bartiromo on Mornings with Maria. He sits on the Board of Directors for BWXT Technologies, Inc., plus on the board of a number of private equity investment firms. Nardelli also serves on the Board of Trustees for Savannah College of Art & Design and Atlanta Cristo Rey Jesuit High School. Over the years, Nardelli has received numerous awards in recognition for his leadership and his contribution to many community organizations. Nardelli has twice been awarded the U.S. Secretary of Defense Freedom Award and most recently he received the TKE Foundation highest honor, the Circle of Excellence award.

Read more about Nardelli's distinguished career, his time at WIU and more in the Fall 2016 issue of the Western Magazine.

For a complete homecoming schedule of events, visit

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations