University News

President Goldfarb's Fall 2009 Welcome Letter

August 24, 2009

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Dear Campus Community,

It is with much pride that I welcome new and returning students, faculty and staff to Western Illinois University for the 2009-2010 academic year. As Elaine and I begin our eighth year at Western, I cannot emphasize enough our gratitude to the campus community for its continued support.

While there is always much enthusiasm at the start of a new school year, this year is especially exciting. Western Illinois is marking several "firsts." Our new engineering program debuts this semester at the WIU-Quad Cities campus, and the four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree also begins this fall at both the Macomb and Quad Cities campuses. A new undergraduate program in anthropology is available at the Macomb campus, and Western's agriculture department has been renamed the School of Agriculture to better reflect the broad range of programs offered.

During the summer months, our first "green" Multicultural Center, which houses the Women's Center, Casa Latina, Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center and the International Friendship Club, was completed. An open house will be held from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 28. Work also continues on the Memorial Hall renovation.

However, what is perhaps the most exciting news regarding new construction on Western's campuses is a capital budget, which includes $67.8 million for Western's Performing Arts Center in Macomb and $15.8 million for the renovation and construction of Building One and $42 million for Phase II (Building Two) at the WIU-Quad Cities Riverfront Campus. Construction may begin as soon as Summer 2010 on the Performing Arts Center, and renovation work will start in the near future at Building One in Moline.

While we are pleased with the capital bill, the current economic crisis contines to impact our university. We have been most fortunate to avoid employee furloughs and layoffs during these challenging budgetary times; however, we must hold off on any decision regarding FY10 pay increases for non-negotiated employees. The vice presidents and I will revisit the feasibility of allocating salary increases for non-negotiated employees once there is a clearer budget picture. Please know our continuing goal is to provide an outstanding education for our students and an outstanding work environment for all of our employees.

It's appropriate, given these challenging economic times, that this year's University theme is "Dollars and Sense: Personal Finance to World Poverty," which will be incorporated into a variety of programs, including academic discussions, public forums and reading groups. The Universitywide theme illustrates our commitment to our core values of academic excellence, educational opportunity, personal growth and social responsibility. Because of our commitment to the core values, in particular, social responsibility, Western was recently named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for its exemplary service efforts.

I encourage members of the campus community, as well as area residents, to take part in the outstanding educational, cultural and entertainment opportunities available at Western this year.

I would also like to invite new and returning students, faculty and staff in Macomb to take part in First Night Fun Saturday, Aug. 22 at Vince Grady Field. This is an outstanding opportunity to meet new people and get together with old friends. Please also join the University and Macomb communities for the annual Community-University Partnership Program (CUPP) block party, which will be held from 5-8 p.m. on the front lawn of Sherman Hall on Wednesday, Aug. 26. New and returning WIU-Quad Cities students, faculty and staff, as well as those from Black Hawk College and Scott Community College, are invited to attend the WIU-QC Society of Educators (SOE) Block Party from 4-7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11.

Please know I am very grateful to be a member of the Western Illinois University community. I look forward to an outstanding new academic year.

Al Goldfarb

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