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Ron Pettigrew, left, and WIU Assistant Provost Ron Williams accept the "Above & Beyond" Award
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"Above & Beyond Award"

April 25, 2011

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MACOMB, IL -- In the past few years, Western Illinois University's support for veterans and active military personnel has been recognized as a "Military Friendly" school by GI Jobs magazine and as a "Best for Vets College" by Military Times EDGE magazine. Now the University has a new bragging right: the Above and Beyond Award from the U.S. Department of Defense's the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR).

Earlier this spring, Western was recognized by the ESGR for going above and beyond the legal requirements for granting leave and providing support for military duty with their employees. According to the ESGR, the Above and Beyond Award is only given in limited numbers by state and territory ESGR committees. It is the state's second highest level award, with approximately only 15-20 employers in the state receiving this award each year.

Ron Pettigrew, academic adviser for the WIU Bachelor in General Studies (BGS) degree program and a U.S. Navy chaplain assigned to the U.S. Marine Corps, has worked at WIU for more than four years and during his time at WIU, he has been deployed twice.

"During my deployments, my present supervisor, Rick Carter, and past supervisors, Belinda Carr, Judi Dallinger and Katrina Daytner, have not only been gracious, but extremely supportive of my military service," Pettigrew said. "They rearranged my hours and provided significant emotional and personal support to me and my family throughout, prior to and following my return from deployments or other assignments. And I know that this is not a rare occurrence on the WIU campus. Western Illinois University truly does go above and beyond to ensure its veterans and active duty personnel receive the resources and support they need."

"Western has established a national reputation for providing exceptional academic support and services to active military personnel and veterans. Providing the resources to our veterans and active duty students is the right thing to do," said Rick Carter, director of distance learning, international studies and outreach.

In addition to offering the Bachelor of General Studies (formerly called Bachelor of Arts/Board of Trustees) degree and flexible academic studies and support to active military personnel and veterans, for many years Western has provided the resources these men and women need upon entering – or returning to – school.

The University's Wright Residence, which serves as the Veterans Resource Center, provides streamlined services and resources in a centralized location to ensure that all veterans, guard members, reservists and active duty personnel receive individual assistance with any question or concern they may encounter. The center also sponsors a series of group seminars/workshops each year based on the current needs of its military student population.

"We are able to help minimize the barriers associated with transitioning to the University setting by providing necessary services and resources in a relaxed atmosphere," said Kathy Meyers, assistant director of the Veterans Resource Center. "The center staff assists students who are located at the Macomb and Quad Cities campuses, and throughout the world. The Veterans Resource Center connects veterans and their family members with the resources necessary to help them succeed."

For more information on services and support for veterans and active duty personnel, visit

Posted By: Darcie Shinberger (
Office of University Relations