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Elijah Elkerton, of Minneapolis, MN, is the first student to graduate from the WIU Business Analytics Program.
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Elkerton joined Western’s graduate program in analytics, Master of Science in Applied Statistics and Decision Analytics (ASDA), this spring.
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First Student Graduates from WIU Business Analytics Program

February 2, 2021

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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL - - The Western Illinois University Business Analytics program has graduated its first student, Elijah Elkerton, of Minneapolis, MN.

The Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) approved a new Bachelor of Business in business analytics at Western Illinois University to begin in Fall 2018.

Elkerton, who joined Western's graduate program in analytics, Master of Science in Applied Statistics and Decision Analytics (ASDA), this spring, not only chose to come to Western to play on the Division I football team, but also because he was looking for a school that had an undergraduate and graduate program to allow him to enter the data science or analytics field.

"My future goal is to be a Chief Information Officer for a company, which will allow me to bring together technology and business throughout my career," Elkerton said. "I think Western has given me the coursework and experiences to do that. This business analytics program will set you up to succeed and the ability to understand data and make inference on applications in a business setting, or any setting you want to study."

Not only is Elkerton working toward his master's degree and playing football, he is raising money for the Children's Miracle Network, through RockyTHON, a yearlong fundraiser that culminates in a 12-hour long celebration in which participants stay on their feet (or dance!) the entire time. The 2020 virtual event, held in March, raised $83,000.

Western also helped Elkerton get through the hardest time of his life when his mom passed away his freshman year from stage four breast cancer.

"I received so much support from my professors, which helped to have the ability to complete all of my coursework when I went home for three weeks in the middle of the semester," said Elkerton.

When this program began in 2018, this was the only STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) recognized Bachelor of Business at Western and was the first of its kind in Illinois. The program is designed for undergraduate students interested in combining business training with data analytics.

"Future business leaders need to be prepared to operate in a data driven world and WIU is ready to help them develop essential skills in data mining, visualization, big data analysis, and predictive analytics," said Jessica Harriger-Lin, interim director for the School of Accounting, Finance, Economics, and Decision Sciences (AFED).

In November 2020, the WIU College of Business and Technology announced the merger of five undergraduate majors, three master's degrees and one post-baccalaureate certificate to form The School of AFED, which will allow curricular synergies between the multiple disciplines.

For more information on the WIU Business Analytics program, visit

Posted By: Alisha Looney (
Office of University Communications & Marketing