University News

The Western Challenge: A Record-Breaking Day for Western Illinois University

April 27, 2017

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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL – Leatherneck pride was in full force April 24 as the 24-hour Western Challenge and Purple & Gold Day opened at midnight at Western Illinois University. The Western Challenge 24-hour online giving event's goal was to reach 1,000 donors from midnight to 11:59 p.m. April 24 … a record-setting 1,071 donors rose to the challenge, donating more than $133,900.

Gifts ranging from $5 to $25,000 rolled in for a variety of departments, programs, resources, scholarships and special projects, from the wee hours of the morning to the evening's end.

"The Western Challenge is indicative of the type of support the University receives far and wide from alumni, students, friends, faculty and staff. We cannot thank the 1,071 individuals enough for their incredible generosity and support. I would also like to thank Annual Fund Director Tim Hallinan for leading this charge and Foundation staff for their support, our Alumni Programs staff for their work organizing Purple & Gold Day in conjunction with the challenge, Phil Weiss of UTV for the wonderful videos, University Relations for the promotional and social media efforts, VPC for capturing photos of this great day and to people like JB and so many others who made The Western Challenge a priority and ensured its success," said Brad Bainter, vice president for advancement and public services. "We came together in the true spirit of the Leathernecks. I could not be more proud to be a member of the Western Illinois University family."

According to Hallinan, the majority of gifts made during the April 24 challenge were designated for student scholarships.

"This record-setting day further demonstrates to our students that Western is a place with people who truly care about their success," Hallinan said. "The Leatherneck spirit is strong throughout the world."

Large-scale challenge gifts came in from a number of donors including Mona Sawyer, Dave and Jackie Thompson, Col. Marinda Coultas-Wood and Kate Nelson, who wished to honor her late husband Ted '51, who had a connection with Ray "Rock" Hanson, and her family of WIU graduates, Hallinan added.

The Western Challenge videos, posts and more can be found on Facebook at

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