University News

WIU President Guiyou Huang: Happy New Year

January 18, 2022

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Dear University Community,

As we begin the Spring 2022 semester at Western Illinois University, I'd like to welcome the newest members of our Leatherneck family to WIU, and welcome back our returning students, faculty, and staff. I hope you had a relaxing and healthy winter break and are ready for a wonderful new year. January 1 marked my one year anniversary as your 12th president. My family and I have enjoyed our first year here and we thank you again for making us feel so welcome. We look forward to being active members of the Macomb and Moline communities in the times ahead.

It has been a difficult year as we have continued to face challenges related to racial and social injustice and the pandemic. We are working toward greater racial and social justice at WIU, including implementing an anti-racism task force, training, and much more. Last month, we launched a new Universitywide Diversity Statement, and I will be sharing new initiatives as the semester continues. We are here for all of our students, faculty, and staff, and we are working hard to ensure that Western is a safe and welcoming institution for everyone to live, learn, and work. The pandemic has, and will continue to, create its own set of challenges. Thus far, we have been fortunate our numbers have remained relatively low. This is because of the outstanding and tireless efforts of our COVID-19 response team, among others, as well as those of you who have followed WIU's protocols. Thank you for all that you do to make our community safer for everyone.

While we have experienced trials and tribulations, we have made some positive strides in these adverse times. Our fall enrollment remained stable, and we saw an influx of new international students – something WIU hasn't experienced since 1987. It has been such a joy to see our campus come back to life as we strived to return to a relatively normal academic experience in Fall 2021. We achieved reaccreditation; we are working toward a stronger strategic plan, including a new diversity, equity, and inclusion plan; and we've implemented plans for recruitment, retention, and institutional distinctiveness. Thank you to our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends for your input, feedback, and honest discussions as we work together to make Western Illinois University even better.

As I promised in my first welcome letter in January 2021, I pledge to continue to commit time, energy, and persistence to existing and new initiatives, including recruitment and retention, financial sustainability, diversity and racial and social justice, institutional distinctiveness, and strengthening the relationships with our communities. I remain dedicated to student success, growth, excellence, innovation, and transformation.

Again, thank you for making our first year at WIU a memorable and remarkable year. I look forward to a continued vibrant semester this spring. Together, we can and we will achieve much greatness.

Wishing you the best,

Guiyou Huang, Ph.D.

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