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1957 Marching Leathernecks from the 1958 Sequel Yearbook. Eldon Hare, pictured, front row, center.
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Eldon and Maureen Hare Band Scholarship Established

December 9, 2021

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MACOMB, IL – A new scholarship for a student in the Western Illinois University Marching Leathernecks has been established in memory of a Western Marching Leathernecks alumnus and a longtime member of the physics department, and his wife, who also attended WIU.

The Eldon and Maureen Hare Band Scholarship, established by Hare's sons, Kevin, a WIU retiree, and Kirk, a WIU alumnus and Facilities Management deputy director of maintenance and operations, along with their spouses, Terri, a WIU alumna and retiree, and Kimberly, a WIU alumna, respectively, will provide a four-year $1,000 per year scholarship in Eldon's and Maureen's memory to a WIU freshman involved in the Marching Leathernecks. The first preference will go to a Macomb High School graduate, with second preference to a McDonough County area freshman and/or to an incoming freshman from the surrounding counties. Eldon passed away Dec. 4, 2019 at the age of 82, and Maureen passed away May 31, 2021 at the age of 80.

Maureen and Eldon met at Western in the 1950s, and married in 1960. While a student at Western Illinois State Teachers College (WISTC), Eldon was a member of the Marching Band from 1955-59, under the Department of Music's first official Director of Bands, Forrest Suycott. He received his bachelor's degree in physics education in 1959, and his master's degree in physics education in 1960, both from Western.

"While our parents didn't specifically express establishing a scholarship in their name at WIU, we discussed it after they passed, and because of our family's long history with Western, we thought this was something that would make them happy as WIU provided them with many wonderful years and friendships," Kirk said. "Our dad remembered his days fondly with the Marching and Pep bands, and mom always supported his music endeavors and his career after graduation. Music continued to be a part of their life throughout the years, so we thought a scholarship directed toward a member of the Marching Leathernecks was a fitting tribute to honor them."

In Eldon's spare time, he played the steel guitar for the Country Timers band (1972-1981) and Last Minute Band (1981-1985), and he always enjoyed listening to live music, his sons recalled.

Hare joined the WIU Department of Physics as an instructor in Fall 1968, and was promoted to assistant professor in 1972. While he resigned from his academic faculty position in 1973 to move to a civil service position to manage the physics lab, he continued to serve as an instructor. Hare was the co-creator of the department's science demonstration program for children and always made a guest appearance as "Albert Einstein." Hare retired in 1996, but continued to serve as an instructor, manage the lab and assist with special events and activities throughout the years, until 2011.

Before joining the WIU faculty, he taught physics at Turner Junior High in Jacksonsville, District 201-U in Crete and District 227 in Park Forest. In addition to his degrees from WIU, Hare also took doctoral-level physics classes at Yale University's Summer Institute in the areas of atomic, nuclear and solid state physics, William and Mary, University of Wyoming and Mankato State University.

"The WIU Marching Leathernecks have a long and storied tradition at Western and this support is so much needed and appreciated," said Brad Bainter, executive officer of the WIU Foundation. "The Hare family also has a long and wonderful history with Western. I appreciate Kevin, Kirk, Terri and Kim establishing this scholarship for the Marching Leathernecks. There is not a single alumnus who doesn't appreciate hearing the marching band play the Fight Song and 'Georgia on My Mind' and this scholarship will help ensure the future of the Marching Leathernecks."

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