President Thomas' Welcome - Fall 2011
August 18, 2011
Dear Campus Community,
Welcome to the 2011-2012 academic year at Western Illinois University. I am excited to begin the new school year as we greet new and returning students, faculty and staff.
One of our biggest challenges continues to be the current budget situation. Because of conservative fiscal management, we have been fortunate to continue to provide the programs and services our students need and deserve, and we are also fortunate to be able to avoid employee furloughs and layoffs. The University has continued to thrive and move forward with outstanding academic programs and facility improvements. I would like to express my deepest appreciation to President Emeritus Al Goldfarb and the University faculty, staff and students for your dedication and perseverance in these challenging times. I look forward to continuing to build on the success of my predecessor and to work with our campus community.
Our strategic plan, Higher Values in Higher Education, will continue to serve as a guiding force for Western Illinois University. Our immediate goals for Western include enhancing our graduation and retention rates, which have already surpassed the national average. We will continue to improve by providing the tools our students need to succeed. We will also increase scholarship opportunities, redefine the Honors College and the First Year Experience (FYE), work to increase enrollment, open Building One on the Quad Cities Riverfront Campus and move to Phase II of the Riverfront Campus project, and continue to move forward with the Performing Arts Center.
I would like to invite new and returning students, faculty and staff to take part in First Night Fun, Saturday, August 20 at Vince Grady Field. You are also invited to attend the annual Community-University Partnership Program (CUPP) Block Party, which will be held from 5-7 p.m. on the front lawn of Sherman Hall Wednesday, August 24. 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, September 9 on the front lawn of the 60th Street campus in Moline.
On Friday, September 23, we will celebrate Founders' Day and the Presidential Inauguration on the Macomb campus. This year, we will be celebrating the 109th anniversary of the first day of classes at Western Illinois University, and I will be presenting the Inaugural Address. We will also celebrate Founders' Day Monday, September 26 at the WIU-QC 60th Street campus. Please mark your calendar and watch for more information on both events.
Please know how honored I am to serve as the 11th president of Western Illinois University. I look forward to a successful new academic year.