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John Deere Donation presentation

Moline John Deere Foundation

WIU Receives $1 Million for Quad Cities Engineering Program

The Western Illinois University-Quad Cities campus has received $1 million in contributions from the John Deere Foundation and The Moline Foundation for the University's new engineering program that will begin this fall.

The donations -- $500,000 from each foundation -- will support lease space and equipment. WIU-QC officials are currently evaluating bids to lease 9,000-square-feet of space in downtown Moline to temporarily house the engineering program until the WIU-QC Riverfront Campus Building I is open.

"These collaborative relationships further Western's mission of providing a quality, affordable public education to the residents of this region," said WIU President Al Goldfarb. "The new engineering program builds on the University's traditions of academic excellence and educational opportunity."

According to Jon Tunberg, Moline Foundation chair, being a leader in encouraging philanthropy is a part of the foundation's mission.

"This project encompasses many of the goals we have set for The Moline Foundation, such as education, charitable partnerships, effective use of our riverfront, business growth and workforce development," Tunberg added.

"The John Deere Foundation makes this contribution as an investment in the long-term future of the Quad Cities area," said Amy Nimmer, president of the John Deere Foundation. "This initiative has been in the works for several years. While we continue to support programs at many institutions of higher education, we believe it is especially important to bring an engineering curriculum offered by a public university to the area."

According to Joe Rives, WIU vice president of the Quad Cities, planning and technology, the foundations' contributions represent "a great partnership between Western and its host community." The University will invest an additional $2 million in the engineering program over a four-year period; however, additional assistance and community partnerships are necessary for space, internships, capstone projects, research and outreach, Rives added.

"Western is an active citizen in the Quad Cities region, and the support we receive from business, industry and nonprofit organizations helps us remain a viable member of this community,” Rives said. “Through this gift, our students and the citizens of this region will have expanded opportunities to further their education in a high demand field."

The 133-semester hour engineering degree will be delivered at the WIU-Macomb and WIU-Quad Cities campuses and will provide an integrated course of study. The program will be a plus-two degree completion program (junior and senior years) articulated with the pre-engineering transfer programs at the WIU-Macomb campus and other four-year universities, along with community colleges in Illinois, Iowa and Missouri, including Black Hawk College and the Eastern Iowa Community College District. Western's Quad Cities-based engineering program will be linked to QC businesses through required internships, cooperative education experiences and capstone projects. A search is currently underway for a director for Western's new School of Engineering.

"We have been working with our community college partners, Black Hawk and Scott, to ensure a seamless transition into Western's engineering program," said College of Business and Technology Dean Tom Erekson. "We have had a significant number of inquiries from potential students who want to become engineers."

In Fall 2003, Deere & Company donated 20 acres of land on the Moline riverfront to Western to expand the WIU-Quad Cities facilities. The WIU Riverfront Building I will include engineering and manufacturing technology labs; the executive studies center, which offers noncredit instructional and professional development opportunities for businesses and nonprofit organizations; electronic classrooms; computer labs; distance learning classrooms; an information commons; a professional writing and academic support center; and office space for faculty and University administrators.

Founded in 1953, The Moline Foundation is a community-based, nonprofit organization, which provides grants to health, human services, education, community development, the arts and other charitable organizations that benefit the citizens of Moline and the Quad Cities region.

The John Deere Foundation was established in 1948; and since its inception the foundation has invested millions of dollars to support education, human services, community development, and arts and culture.

As the only public university in the Quad Cities region, WIU-QC currently provides 11 undergraduate programs, including new offerings in liberal arts and sciences and early childhood education; 13 master's degree programs, which include new degrees in liberal arts and sciences, educational leadership and museum studies; and five post-baccalaureate certificate programs, including the new Environmental GIS certificate, at the 60th Street campus.