University News

WIU Psychology Department Celebrates 50th Anniversary

April 11, 2011

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MACOMB, IL – A Golden Anniversary celebration for Western Illinois University's Department of Psychology has been planned for Friday-Saturday, April 15-16 in Macomb.

The weekend lineup begins on Friday (April 15) with tours of Waggoner Hall and the University campus. Current psychology students will lead tours of Waggoner Hall between 12-2:45 p.m.; and ambassadors from the Student Alumni Association will lead campus tours at 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. The starting location for all tours is Waggoner Hall 100. Parking is available in Q-lot, east of Western Hall on University Drive.

At 3 p.m. alumna Sarah Greathouse, an assistant professor of psychology at Iowa State University, will present "Jury Decision Making" in Waggoner Hall 054. Greathouse earned a B.S. degree in psychology and a B.A. degree in sociology at WIU in Spring 2002. She received her M.S. from Florida International University (2005) and her Ph.D. in forensic psychology (2009) from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice of The City University of New York (CUNY), NY. Greathouse's research uses social psychology theory to study human behavior in the legal system.

A 4-7 p.m. welcome reception is scheduled at Western's Alumni House. A cash bar and hors d'oeuvres will be available.

On Saturday (April 16) returning alumni and families can choose to work out and tour Western's Donald S. Spencer Student Recreation Center or take a campus nature walk between 8:30-10:45 a.m. At 9:30 a.m. attendees may take a Go West tour of the campus and Macomb community with emeriti professors Paula and Dan Wise. The tour leaves from Waggoner Hall 100. Passes for the Spencer Student Recreation Center will be in Waggoner Hall 100. Individuals must have an ID to get the pass.

From 11 a.m.-2 p.m. an Italian buffet luncheon and a program will be held in the Sherman Hall third floor auditorium. Reservations for the buffet ($18 per person) can be made online at, click on "Alumni Events" in the left navigation bar and on "Online Event Registration" in the drop-down window. For more information about reservations, contact the Alumni Association at or phone (309) 298-1914.

Between 2-4 p.m. alumni and friends are invited to Waggoner Hall to reunite and meet with new members of graduate programs, research labs, Psi Chi National Honor Society, HOTLINE and other groups. Check in at Waggoner Hall 100 for specific locations.

The 50th Anniversary celebration will culminate with a "Super-Woodsie" at Professor Eugene and Melissa Mathes' farm in Colchester. Alumni and friends and their families are welcome to enjoy a family barbeque, bonfire, games and pony rides for children.

Western's psychology department was developed in 1961 by James Joyce, who specialized in personality studies and social-learning theories. He served as chair of the department until 1970. Other chairs in the 50-year history are Walter Flakus (1970-1973); James P. James (1973-1976); Frank Fulkerson (1976-1985; and July 2008-Jan. 2009), James Ackil (1985-Dec. 2003); Virginia Diehl (interim January-June 2004); chair 2004-2008); and Steve Dworkin (Jan. 2009-present).

Today, Western's psychology department offers a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology; Master of Science degrees in general psychology, clinical/community mental health and the Specialist in School Psychology degree; and minors in psychology, neuroscience, gerontology and forensic psychology. Undergraduate and graduate students have many opportunities to work closely with faculty on research projects, as well as through individual readings, seminars and departmental committee memberships. The department maintains a Psychology Clinic and a student-run HOTLINE crisis intervention program.

For more information about the anniversary celebration or the department, visit, phone (309) 298-1593 or email

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