University News

It's Birthday Party Time: Celebrate with Ray & Rocky Feb. 20

February 17, 2020

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MACOMB, IL – Western Illinois University will celebrate a pawsitively awesome day Thursday, Feb. 20! The "official" birthday party for Col. Rock III (Rocky) and Col. Rock IV (Ray) will be held from 12:15-1:15 p.m. in the University Union Concourse, and again at 7 p.m. at the Women's Basketball game in Western Hall.

Rocky, WIU mascot emeritus, will turn 10 Wednesday, March 4, and his cousin, Western's mascot, Ray, turned two Feb. 14. To celebrate their special days, a birthday party for the pair Feb. 20 will include cupcakes (for their friends and the birthday boys) and Rocky & Ray stickers (and posing for photos). High fives and paw shakes (and maybe a few other tricks) will also be part of the celebration.

Ray will also be the star of the show with a community celebration beginning at 7 p.m. Feb. 20 in Western Hall as part of the WIU women's basketball game.

Col. Rock IV (also known as Ray, after WIU's legendary longtime coach and athletic director Ray "Rock" Hanson) arrived in Macomb in June 2018. WIU alumni Joe Roselieb, executive director of auxiliary services and risk management, and Ketra Roselieb, executive director of personnel and financial affairs, house and train (and chauffeur) Ray, while Rocky enjoys his retirement and holds down the fort (rather, the bed and the couch) at the Roselieb household. Much like how his older cousin came to Western, the generosity of the Siess family, the WIU Foundation and a few private donors, brought Ray to the University.

Col. Rock III became a member of the Leatherneck family in May 2010 as a 10-week-old pup. Roselieb was selected as Rocky's person, and for nine years he has overseen every aspect of Rocky's care, from providing him with a loving home to teaching the "old" dog new tricks to making sure he's healthy to taking him to numerous WIU and community events each year. Rocky officially "announced" his retirement in Summer 2018.

Col. Rock III and Col. Rock IV are AKC-certified English bulldogs that were donated to Western by Richard and Beth Siess of the Siess Ranch in Seneca, KS. Dr. Karen Blakeley of Macomb's All Pets Veterinary Clinic and the WIU School of Agriculture, along with other University and community organizations and individuals, make sure that Rock's and Ray's needs are tended to.

To help supplement funding for Rocky's care, the Western Illinois University Foundation established the Col. Rock Fund. Donating is simple: text the word "COLROCK" to 41444 to make a gift of any size to the WIU Foundation. Donations, made payable to WIU Foundation, can also be sent to: WIU Foundation, 303 Sherman Hall, 1 University Circle, Macomb, IL 61455-1390. Contributors who send in donations are asked to include a note that designates the gifts for Colonel Rock's Fund.

To follow Col. Rock on Facebook, key "Colonel Rock" in the search bar or go to his page at

For more information on Rocky's Fund, contact the WIU Foundation Office at (309) 298-1861.

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations