University News

Retired WIU Employee and Alumna to Sell Self-Published Word Search in Bookstore

November 15, 2023

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MACOMB, IL - -Western Illinois University alumna and retired Information Management Systems programmer (now part of University Technology) Sue Adams, recently wrote and produced a word search book on food and decided to create one on WIU.

Adams has self-published several books, including the WIU word search book, which consists of 83 word searches on topics such as life in a residence hall, sports clubs, homecoming and more.

She graduated from WIU in 1983 with a bachelor's degree in Computer Science. Following graduation, she became a programmer in the Information Technology (IT) department at WIU and retired in 2015 after serving 31 years. She returned to WIU in 2019 to work part time in the department.

The preface includes:

"A friend of mine and I were casually talking about a word search book on food that I had put together about a year ago, and I was trying to get her to buy one (!). As she was flipping through the pages, she said, "Why don't you make one about Western?"

After I put my eyeballs back in my head, I realized that it was a great idea. My wheels were already churning with the topics I could include, the number of puzzles that I would need for a decent-sized book, the resources I would need, etc. I realized that I needed four angles of attack – friends who worked at Western, the WIU website, John Hallwas' book on Western, First Century: A Pictorial History of Western Illinois University, and my memories from when I was a student in the 1980s and an employee for 30-plus years there.

And the sleepless nights began. I couldn't type fast enough to keep up with the topics flying through my head. I spent over two hours on the phone with another friend reliving our days as employees, having to tell her several times to slow down so I could get everything typed in. I didn't want to miss a thing! I sent a few emails to get lists of things I couldn't remember, and then I was done with the bulk of brainstorming in a matter of days. I already had a word search book template laid out the way I wanted, so formatting the puzzles was a breeze, and my typing skills are like a finely-tuned precision machine. With Christmas as a deadline, I was off and running.

What you are holding is list upon list of memory triggers from your time as a WIU student or even as an employee. I hope that this book helps you recall the good times with friends, the crazy fun times before you had to grow up, and the times you stretched your brain in the classroom.

So, there you have it – a labor of love about a place where I have spent over half of my life. Be careful what you wish for! I'm going to bed now," Adams said.

Additionally, the word search book will be sold in the WIU Bookstore, at the Alumni House and through Amazon, starting Monday, Nov. 20.

To purchase the book, visit or

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