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The wedding of Dick and Susie, right, pictured with Pete and Belva, left.
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Scot and Elena, pictured where they first met, and worked together, on campus.
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WIU Education Brings Love for Three Generations of One Leatherneck Family

February 10, 2022

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MACOMB, IL – As generations of students graduate from Western Illinois University, they develop not only a love for the purple and gold of their alma mater, but some leave having found something more romantic. Each love story that has beginnings at Western is part of the University's rich tradition and storied past.

While WIU students come to campus with a goal of earning an academic degree, three generations of one family of alumni have found the loves of their lives while on campus.

The Crain family began attending WIU in the 1920s, when the late Francis "Pete" Crain, met his wife, the late Belva Wedding, on campus. Both graduated in 1929, moving on to become teachers. The couple later married, but had to keep their relationship a secret early on because female teachers were not supposed to be married during that time.

The couple's son, the late Richard "Dick" Crain, came to WIU in his parents' footsteps, where he met his wife, the late Susie Sears. Dick graduated in 1956, with a degree in chemistry, and went on to become a pioneer in the anti-pollution movement and designed more than 100 pollution-abatement facilities. In 2010, he was honored with the WIU College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award.

Dick and Susie's son, Scot Crain, met his wife, Elena Andree at Western. Scot graduated in 1979, with a bachelor's degree in English and finished his MBA at WIU in 1982.

While on campus, Scot was an assistant hall director in Henninger Hall, and Elena was the women's hall director in Bayliss Hall. The couple worked together at WIU, becoming good friends and staying in touch after she left Macomb for another job. They later began dating and got married in 1985.

The couple remembers their time on campus, specifically watching the television show "M*A*S*H," and sharing peanut M&Ms. Scot recently retired after a long career in executive management with Auntie Anne's Soft Pretzels, in Lancaster, PA.

As Valentine's Day approaches, WIU is celebrating the people we love. We would like to hear about your #LeatherneckLove story. Was there a person, event, or class that made you fall in love with WIU? Did you meet your significant other at Western and now your children are on campus? Show support for a WIU program or programs you love at

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