University News

Purple & Gold Day of Caring Virtual Events Set for April 24

April 23, 2020

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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL -- The tradition of celebrating Purple & Gold Day at Western Illinois University began April 24, 2000, with the close of the University's 100-year celebration. The date in 2000 marked the 100-year anniversary of the day in 1899 when the Illinois Legislature approved the creation of what would become WIU.

During a "typical" Purple & Gold Day, WIU's celebration means alumni events around the country; however, April 2020 certainly isn't a typical month, but that doesn't mean WIU won't celebrate its very beginnings. This year's Purple & Gold Day of Caring Friday, April 24 will go virtual.

"We're hosting 12 hours of interactive virtual gatherings, hangouts, Zoom meetings/interviews, tours, question and answer sessions, videos and more to give Leathernecks around the world the opportunity to be together," said WIU Alumni Programs Director and WIU Alumna Amy Spelman. "Wear your purple and gold, and join us as we celebrate our wonderful institution, and our strong and resilient Leatherneck spirit."

To participate and/or view sessions and videos, go to Events scheduled include:

8 a.m. - Virtual town hall and Q & A with Interim President Martin Abraham (Zoom)

9 a.m. - Q & A with WIU's GIS Center Director Chad Sperry '95 and GIS Professor Christopher Sutton '88 '91: Mapping the Pandemic: Creating the Illinois Covid-19 Awareness Dashboard (Zoom)

10 a.m. - Virtual live boot camp workout with WIU Alumnus and World's Fittest Man Joe Decker and Nicole Decker, owners of Gut Check Fitness (for all fitness levels) (Zoom)

11 a.m. - Special Video Release: Georgia on My Mind

Noon - Panel discussion: Understanding Supply Chain Impacts on the Agriculture Sector with Ag Economics Professor Kevin Bacon and Assistant Professor Graciela Andrango (pre-recorded video)

1 p.m. - Hanging with Leatherneck Football Alumnus and KC Chiefs Super Bowl Champion Khalen Saunders '18 and WIU Head Football Coach Jared Elliott (Zoom)

2 p.m. - Purple and Gold, alumni and enrolled, our hearts you still hold. Spend some time with Counseling Center counselors and pick up some tips for living in the midst of a pandemic (pre-recorded videos)

3 p.m. Student Services Updates: Housing & Dining, Counseling Center, Multicultural Center, Student Activities (pre-recorded videos)

4 p.m. - Recruitment and retention update and Q & A with Director of Undergraduate Admissions & Enrollment Services and Interim Executive Director of Retention Initiatives Justin Schuch (Zoom)

5 p.m. - Panel discussion with Covid-19 front line healthcare professionals featuring WIU School of Nursing Alumni (Zoom)

6 p.m. Virtual Happy Hour (Zoom)

7 p.m. - Purple & Gold Day of Caring video release

8 p.m. - Closing with WIU Foundation Executive Officer Brad Bainter '79 '83 (Zoom)

In addition to Purple & Gold Day virtual celebrations, the Western Challenge has turned into the Day of Caring this April to support the WIU Student Emergency Fund. The WIU Foundation has pledged to match up to a minimum of $25,000 in gifts on the Day of Caring for the Student Emergency Fund.

"I simply ask that when the day is done and you have taken care of your families and your communities, if you still that have resources to assist our students, that you consider a gift to Western to support the Student Emergency Fund," said WIU Foundation Executive Director and WIU Alumnus Brad Bainter. "Your support will be a tremendous resource that will allow us to relieve a lot of pressure for our future alumni."

Donations, which can be made any time, can be made at, by texting "WIUCARE" to the number 41444 or mailed to the WIU Foundation, 303 Sherman Hall, 1 University Circle, Macomb IL 61455. Payroll deduction options are also available for WIU employees who would like to participate. All gifts designated for the Student Emergency Fund will go toward WIU students.

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