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Director's Column


In this Issue

Bob Nielson named Leatherneck Head Football Coach
WIU Student Obtains First Degree in Renewable Energy
Col. Rock III Calendar|Go West Additions, Improvements, Routes & More
Western Wednesdays in Downtown Chicago
|Join WIU in Florida in January
See JERSEY BOYS with WIU in Peoria | Save the Dates for Arizona Events


Bob Nielson named Leatherneck Head Football Coach

Coach NielsonDuring an introductory press conference on Wednesday afternoon (Dec. 19), Bob Nielson was welcomed as the next head football coach of the Western Illinois Fighting Leatherneck program.

Nielson joins the Leathernecks from the University of Minnesota-Duluth, having served as the head football coach and athletics director. He owns a 100-26 record during his 10-year tenure as head coach at UMD and won the 2008 and 2010 NCAA Division II National Championship following a 15-0 campaign in each season.

"We welcome Bob Nielson and his family to the Western Illinois Leatherneck family. When the search process began, Bob's coaching record and accomplishments certainly stood out, speaking volumes on his coaching reputation and success on the field. When we met coach Nielson in person, that was the selling point," said Van Alstine. "You can tell he's a man of integrity who, in addition to excellence on the field, places a great emphasis on academic success for his student-athletes. His values are exactly what we wanted to find in our next head football coach."

Read more.

WIU Student Obtains First Degree in Renewable Energy

Alex SteeleWhen Alex Steele, a Western Illinois University senior from Milan (IL), walked across the stage at graduation Dec. 15, he had the distinction of being the first WIU student to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, with a concentration in Renewable Energy and Wind Technology.

When Steele transferred to Western a few years ago, he chose construction management as a major, which seemed to be a natural progression after working for his father's construction company for many years. But he became more intrigued with focusing on renewable energy when he had the opportunity to work on the pre-stages of a wind farm in Kansas with his father's company.

"When I was in Kansas I had the experience of putting up nine met towers for wind samples for the wind farm. Ever since, I had an interest in wind technology and thought it would be a great degree," he said.

Read more.

Col. Rock III Calendar

Col Rock IIINow you can see Western Illinois University's loveable four-legged mascot every day for the next 365 days thanks to a new WIU calendar featuring Col. Rock III.

Designed by University Relations Webmaster/Graphic Designer Jessica Lambert, the 2013 calendar is on sale for $10.50 at the University Union Bookstore and online. A portion of the proceeds from calendar sales will go toward the Col. Rock III Fund, established by the WIU Foundation in February 2012, which helps meet travel-related, food, healthcare and "clothing" expenses.

The 12-month calendar features photos of Col. Rock III (aka Rocky) at WIU events, at home, in the community, around campus and in the studio, where he loves "posing." As soon as the flash bulb pops, he's ready for a treat and another photo opp.

Read more.

Go West Additions, Improvements, Routes & More

Go WestWhen Western Illinois University students, faculty and staff returned to campus in August, they may have noticed that traffic congestion near Lincoln and Washington halls along Adams Street had eased considerably since last year thanks to the installation of a new bus "cut-out" in front of those halls. A few weeks later, a few blocks to the west, a new cut-out was completed in front of Olson Hall to ease traffic flow at that busy intersection.

According to Jude Kiah, director of Go West, these initiatives are just a few of several for the University and community transit system. In addition to the cut-outs along Adams, the cut-out on the west side of Western Avenue, in front of Horrabin Hall, was "re-claimed" by the system to improve traffic flow along that busy thoroughfare, and within the community, benches and shelters have been installed by the City of Macomb on Johnson Street, Turnberry Village 1 and Eisenhower Towers. Work is currently underway to install a pad and sidewalk along West Adams Street, directly across the street from Lake Ruth.

Read more.

Western Wednesdays in Downtown Chicago

Your WIU Alumni Association started an amazing tradition in November 2011 with the first of many Western After Hours! Hundreds of alumni joined us on the first Thursday of every month for great food, great conversation and a few beverages! Due to it's success, our tradition continues....only we have moved it to Western Wednesdays! Due to the New Year holiday, there will not be a Western Wednesdays in January. Our next installment of Western Wednesdays will take place on February 6 at The Stretch Bar & Grill in Chicago from 5 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.!

Western Wednesdays
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
The Stretch Bar & Grill
3485 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL
5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
(There is no charge for this event.)

Social, light appetizers while they last & cash bar - FREE

Pre-registration is preferred, however walk-ins are welcome. To pre-register, please call 309-298-1914 or email

Western Wednesdays

Join WIU in Florida in January

Florida Events

See JERSEY BOYS with WIU in Peoria

Jersey BoysThe Broadway hit JERSEY BOYS is coming to central Illinois and your WIU Alumni Association wants to invite you to join us at a performance.

“Too good to be true!” raves the New York Post for JERSEY BOYS, a musical about Rock and Roll Hall of Famers The Four Seasons. Winner of a Tony Award and a Grammy Award, among others, join President Jack Thomas and Alumni Director Amy Spelman ’98 for an exciting performance of JERSEY BOYS, right here in central Illinois on Wednesday, February 13, 2013. Prior to the performance, we will meet at the Peoria Civic Center for a reception at 5:30 p.m.; the performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available on the main floor and in the first balcony. Prices for each ticket include the pre-performance reception. You may pick up your tickets at the pre-performance social; they will not be mailed to you.

Do not miss this great opportunity to see a Broadway classic in central Illinois. Register today before our group tickets sell out. You can do so at or call the Alumni Association at 309-298-1914. We look forward to seeing you in Peoria.

Peoria Alumni & Friends Event - Social & JERSEY BOYS performance Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Peoria Civic Center
201 SW Jefferson Ave
Peoria, Illinois

Save the Dates for our Arizona Events

WIU Alumni Programs is bringing Western to the dessert. We will be hosting WIU Alumni & Friends Events in Tucson on Sunday, February 17 and in Phoenix on Wednesday, February 20. Watch the WIU web site for details as they are finalized.


****Congratulations to the December winner--Tim Adams '11. He discovered Rocky on the Student Services page in the December issue.

Congratulations to the January winner--Andy Markoya '02. He discovered Rocky on the Athletics page in the January issue.****Rocky

Can you find this exact Rocky (in black and white) somewhere else in the eNewsletter? If you find him, email us at
and let us know where he was placed. One winner will be picked from all the entries emailed on the first day of the month and will get a WIU Prize Pack! Good luck!



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