University News

2023 Western Challenge Strikes Again

May 11, 2023

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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL - - Leathernecks, you did it! Western Illinois University pride was in full force April 24, as WIU hosted the annual Western Challenge on Purple and Gold Day. The event spanned 24 hours and raised $228,919 with more than 1,200 donors. The gifts surpassed the 2022 challenge and a record number of donors gave.

"We are incredibly grateful to our alumni, friends, parents and students who express their Leatherneck Pride with a gift during the Western Challenge this year and every year," said Director of Annual Giving and Western Challenge Coordinator Tim Hallinan. "The impact they have on our students and our University cannot be overstated."

Numerous campus areas benefited from the match and challenge dollars. Donors pledging a match or challenge included:

  • $25,000 Matches/Challenges: Scott Clarke (Scott Clarke Excellence in Student Leadership Scholarship)

  • $10,000 Matches/Challenges: Sam Olivia (College of Business and Technology/Accounting)

  • $5,000 Matches/Challenges: Mona Sawyer (College of Business and Technology/Scholarships), Stephanie, Brian, and Chris Lovingood (Lovingood Scholarship); $5,500, Jim and Debbie Carter (Multiple Designations)

  • $3,000 Matches/Challenges: Tom and Gayle Carper (Track and Field)

  • $2,000 Matches/Challenges: Ron Pettigrew (Veterans Resource Center); $2,500, Brian and Linda Savage (Returning Leatherneck Scholarship), Anonymous (Retuning Leatherneck Scholarship)

  • $1,000 Matches/Challenges: Debra Miller (Returning Leatherneck Scholarship), Brian Spotts (Football), Gerry Salzman (Agriculture), Moore's Floors - Quincy, IL (Live Mascot Fund), Marty O'Connor (Alumni Association); $500, Anonymous (Phonathon Student Scholarship), $200, Ifeoluwa Adediran (Computer Science), $125, Mac Price (Phonathon Student Scholarship), $100, Laura Ferenc (Mathematics), RPTA faculty Megan Owens and Jeremy Robinett (RPTA Scholarship), Jude Kiah (Go West Security), Shelby Eck (Fraternity/Sorority Life), Stacey Macci (Communication)

The Western Challenge is a fundraising event that supports the WIU Foundation's Annual Fund efforts and has a rich history dating back to 2017. The annual online event is held on Purple and Gold Day to bring Leathernecks together in support of future students and initiatives and raise awareness of how much WIU alumni contribute to the next generation of leaders.

"Giving to the Western Challenge, not only gave us the opportunity to support the future of Western Illinois University and its students, but also allowed us to celebrate its "storied" past," said WIU alumnus and donor Jim Carter. "We will never forget the four years we spent at WIU which were instrumental in providing us with the firm foundation which we are thankful for over 40 years later. We will always be Purple and Gold!"

Donors supported a wide range of needs during the Western Challenge, including first generation students, scholarships, athletics, student life and more. Gifts made through the Western Challenge contribute widely to the WIU campaign For the W: The Capital Campaign for Western Illinois University. For more information, or to make a gift, visit or

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