University News

WIU Spring 2023 Commencement Weekend May 12-13

April 19, 2023

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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL — Ceremonies recognizing the academic and personal accomplishments of Western Illinois University students and alumni will be held Friday-Saturday, May 12-13 in Macomb and Sunday, May 14 in the Quad Cities during the 2023 Spring Commencement Weekend.

The number of students eligible to participate in Spring 2023 Commencement Ceremonies is 1,562, which includes 863 undergraduate students, of which 71 students are in the Bachelor of Arts in General Studies Degree Program; 598 are master's-level graduate students; and eight students are earning their doctorates in educational leadership (Ed.D.): William J. Buss (Keokuk, IA); Renee Estelle Fitzsimmons (Wilmette, IL); Heather Renee Lorenzo (Round Lake, IL); Nashwa Mekky (Northbrook, IL); Thomas S. Ryan (New Windsor, IL); Heather A. Santella (Chicago, IL); Georgia Jaylee Swanson (East Moline) and Cathy Lynn Trimble (Morton, IL).

Spring 2023 Commencement Weekend Schedule

Friday, May 12, 5 p.m., master's/specialist/doctoral students, Western Hall, Macomb.

Saturday, May 13, undergraduate students, Western Hall, Macomb.

9:30 a.m. - College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business and Technology, General Studies Degree Program

1 p.m. - College of Education and Human Services, College of Fine Arts and Communication

Sunday, May 14, 1 p.m., undergraduate and master's/specialist/doctoral students, Vibrant Arena at The Mark, Moline, IL.

Ceremony Live Streams

Western Illinois University provides live streaming video of the commencement ceremonies held at the Macomb campus. The live feed will be available approximately 30 minutes before the scheduled start time of each ceremony on WIU's YouTube channel.

Distinguished Alumni
Warren M. Weiss,
a 1978 law enforcement graduate, and Founder and Managing Partner at WestWave Capital and Partner Emeritus at Foundation Capital, will be recognized at the 9:30 a.m. ceremony.

Affectionately known as "Bunny," Weiss has had decades of success uncovering tech giants in their emerging stages. His work on SilverSpring Networks earned him a spot on the Forbes Midas List of Technology's Top Investors. He is a four-time CEO of venture backed companies, and worked with Steve Jobs at NeXT.

Weiss serves on the Board of Binarly and Secuvy for WestWave Capital. He remains a General Partner on past funds at Foundation Capital (where he no longer makes new investments) and serves on the boards of ForgeRock (IPO) and Visier. He is also on the board of the Weiss Scholarship Foundation, a charity that provides education to children in Kenya.

Weiss's close ties with leading universities and research labs give him a window into innovations in their purest form, and he cherishes the chance to work with the smartest minds in business, whether first-timers or Nobel Prize winners.

He is a member of President Guiyou Huang's National Advisory Council and has been a key influencer in assisting with moving our Cybersecurity Program forward. He is a member of WIU's Cybersecurity Advisory Board and has traveled to campus to offer advice and guidance for the program. He has also been a guest speaker for campus-wide events. He remains passionate about working with his alma mater to build the University's Cybersecurity program as he believes with 10 million jobs available in that field in the U.S., now is the time for him to help our Leatherneck students find jobs in the field.

John A. Elliott, a 1965 social studies graduate, who currently serves as CEO Emeritus of National Express Group LLC will be recognized during the 1 p.m. Commencement ceremony.

He began his career as an educator, first in the Kankakee School District as a teacher, later as a central office administrator and then onto Lockport High School District. In 1972, he joined KAL Leasing and was appointed President in 1974. KAL was acquired by RYDER System in 1986, and Elliott served as a general manager then Senior Vice President of Ryder Student Transportation. That organization was acquired by First Group PLC. in 1999, and was renamed First Student, with Elliott as its President in January 2000. Later that year he was named President and Chief Operating Officer of Durham School Services (a division of National Express Group PLC), eventually being named Chief Executive Officer in 2004 as the organization had acquired Stock Transportation in Canada and other student transportation companies throughout the US.

Elliott has established the Joann Amos Elliott Memorial Scholarships at WIU in loving memory of his wife whom he met at Western. He has been a strong supporter of his alma mater over the years including support for scholarships, athletics, the Alumni Association and history department. He participated in track and field at Western and was a member of Alpha Phi Omega. Elliott received the WIU Alumni Achievement Award in 2017.

He served on the Board of the National School Transportation Association (NSTA) for more than 20 years. He received the NSTA Hall of Fame Award in 2006, was named School Bus Fleet Contractor of the Year in 2007 and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from National Express Group PLC in 2014. Having served on many local Boards, he has served on the National Board of Canine Companions for Independence since 2001.

Macomb Commissioning and Commencement Ceremonies

Provost and Academic Vice President Manoochehr Zoghi will serve as master of ceremonies for each ceremony. Greetings will be given by Doug Shaw, chair of the Board of Trustees, and President Guiyou Huang will present remarks to the graduating class during the commencement ceremonies. WIU's Distinguished University Professor, WIU History Professor Peter Cole, will be recognized at each ceremony. The Western Illinois University Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Conductor Kenny Lee, will play for the Macomb ceremonies.

Events scheduled for Friday, May 12 include:

3 p.m. Army ROTC Commissioning, University Union Heritage Room

A total of seven Army ROTC cadets, who have completed requirements, will be commissioned to active or reserve duty as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army.

5 p.m. Graduate Commencement Ceremony, Western Hall

National Anthem singer: Clarissa Leigh Consoli (Roselle, IL), Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre, class of 2023.

Saturday, May 13 - Undergraduate Commencement Ceremonies, Western Hall – 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

During the 9:30 a.m. ceremony, candidates in the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business and Technology and General Studies Degree Program will be recognized. National Anthem singer: Chinenye Janet Igwe (Troutdale, OR), Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre, class of 2023.

Marshals, who are graduating seniors selected from the top scholars earning high academic distinction, guide the graduating class, faculty and stage party from the processional to the recessional. Marshals are: Kinsey Brawner (Granbury, TX); James Cooper Craiger (Des Moines, IA); Camryn Lynn (Macomb, IL); Carla Flores Garcia (Barcelona, Spain); Baylee K. Mayberry (Bryant, IL); Allison J. Lloyd (Reynolds, IL); Krista R. Swenson Meyers (Yuba City, CA); and Jebediah J. Schwager (Bellevue, IA).

During the 1:30 p.m. ceremony, candidates in the College of Education and Human Services and College of Fine Arts and Communication will be recognized. National Anthem singer: Emma Nadine Bachman (Springfield, IL) Bachelor of Music, class of 2023. Marshals are: Billie Reann Chadderdon (Bushnell, IL); Cynthia Delgado (St. Charles, IL); Keri Lynn DeVolder (Macomb, IL); Haley Heeren (Kewanee, IL); Maranda H.M. Johnson (Manito, IL); Madalyn Pridemore (Macomb, IL); Whitney Piper (Macomb, IL); and Kennedy Elizabeth Williams (Glendale Heights, IL).

Sunday, May 14 Quad Cities – Combined Ceremony, Vibrant Arena at The Mark, Moline, IL – 1 p.m.

1 p.m., WIU-QC Combined Graduate and Undergraduate Commencement

Provost and Academic Vice President Manoochehr Zoghi will serve as master of ceremonies for each ceremony. Kristi Mindrup, vice president for Quad Cities Campus Operations, will provide a welcome, and greetings will be given by Doug Shaw, chair of the Board of Trustees. President Guiyou Huang will present remarks to the graduating class. National Anthem singer: Victoria Grace Lynn (Troy, IL), Bachelor of Fine Arts, class of 2023. Marshals are: Kennedy Roggenbauer (Rock Island, IL); Jaylin Randle (Rock Island, IL); Alexander Welch (La Fayette, IL); Aaliyah Elfridge (St. Lucia) and Claire Henniges (Milan, IL).


The flags of 31 nations representing the Spring 2023 graduating class will be displayed in the arena. Sponsored by Western's Center for International Studies, the flags represent the following countries: Argentina, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Canada, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Haiti, India, Iran, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Philippines, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Spain, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Western was home to students from 61 countries during the Spring 2023 semester.


Gonfalons, which are banners hung from a crossbar on poles, made their inaugural appearance in the Fall 2009 Commencement ceremonies. Gonfalons for Western Illinois University, the School of Graduate Studies, and each of the four academic colleges: Arts and Sciences; Business and Technology; Education and Human Services; and Fine Arts and Communication as well as the Centennial Honors College, and University Libraries will be included in the ceremony.


Photographs of each graduate will be taken as they receive their diploma cover. Proof sheets will be mailed from Western's Center for Photography and Design Production to each graduate, with instructions for ordering photos.

Open Ceremonies; ADA Requests

Ceremonies are open to family and friends of the graduates. Tickets are not required; seating is on a first come basis. Doors open 90 minutes before each ceremony. An interpreter will sign each ceremony and assistive listening devices will be available to the public at the information table in the north lobby of Western Hall. There are a limited number of disability seats, and individuals in need of special accommodations for the ceremonies should contact Western's Student Development and Success Center office at (309) 298-1884. Office hours are 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays.


Individuals needing special accommodations for the Quad Cities ceremony should contact Audrey Adamson at WIU-Quad Cities at (309) 762-9481 or via email at Office hours are 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays. Additional information about the WIU-QC Commencement ceremony is available at

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