University News

2022 WIU Distinguished Alumnus Surprise Donation

May 19, 2022

Share |
Printer friendly version

MACOMB/MOLINE, IL – During Western Illinois University Alumnus Robert L. Nardelli's remarks at the 9 a.m. May 14 Commencement ceremony, in which he was being honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award, he called WIU President Guiyou Huang to the podium for a special announcement: a $100,000 check for the Robert & Susan Nardelli Scholarship Endowment.

Nardelli, a WIU Hall of Fame inductee and former Leatherneck Football captain, Honorary Doctorate recipient and College of Business and Technology Distinguished Alumnus, presented the check to President Huang. The funding will be used for general scholarships for WIU students.

Nardell is the former chair/CEO of Home Depot and Chrysler and former CEO of GE Power Systems. Nardelli received his bachelor's degree in business in 1971. He 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.

"This was such a wonderful surprise," noted Huang. "We appreciate Mr. Nardelli's continued generosity. This most recent donation will provide much needed additional scholarship funds for our students. Again, we thank Bob for his support of his alma mater."

Nardelli is a member of the WIU President's National Advisory Council; and has served as an honorary co-chair of WIU's $25 million Centennial Campaign, which concluded in December 2000, and on the College of Business and Technology Advisory Board. In 1998, he established an endowed scholarship for student athletes majoring in business.

"Bob has been an outstanding, consistent cheerleader for Western Illinois University over the decades since he graduated from Western," said Brad Bainter, executive officer of the WIU Foundation. "This was such a nice surprise, and this latest gift from Bob and Susan will further assist more students who are pursuing degrees at Western."

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. Following his time at Home Depot, he served as chair 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 branched out on his own and founded XLR-8 LLC, an investment and advisory company, where he remains as the company's CEO.

Posted By: University Communications (
Office of University Communications & Marketing