University News

WIU Prepares for the Western Challenge 2024, Unveiling Exciting Alumni-Driven "Map Challenge"

April 22, 2024

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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL – Western Illinois University is excited to announce the launch of its ninth annual day of giving, the Western Challenge, scheduled for Wednesday, April 24. This year, Western is thrilled to announce a new twist to the event: the "Map Challenge," initiated by a pair of generous alumni donors.

In a bold move to inspire widespread participation, the anonymous donors have pledged an additional $15,000 in scholarship assistance if Western receives at least one gift from every state during the 24-hour giving event. This exciting initiative underscores Western's commitment to engage all of Leatherneck Nation during the Western Challenge to support student success.

Tim Hallinan, director of Annual Giving for WIU's Division of Advancement, Alumni Relations, and Athletics, anticipates the Leatherneck community's rallying behind this year's cause. Dubbed "The 'Necks' Big Thing," the Western Challenge unites Western alumni and friends in a collective effort to support academic programs, student retention, University Athletics, scholarship opportunities and many other campus initiatives.

"The Western Challenge presents an opportunity to demonstrate our unwavering support for Western and commitment to our students," Hallinan said. "We aspire to help our alumni and friends make history by achieving participation from every state, showcasing the widespread reach and impact of Leatherneck Nation."

Since its inception in 2016, the Western Challenge has gained remarkable donor support nationwide and beyond. Last year alone, 1,202 donors united in giving, contributing $228,919 to empower Western to advance various scholarships, programs and campus initiatives.

During the 24-hour giving event, alumni and friends are encouraged to direct their contributions to any area of Western that resonates with their passions and philanthropic priorities while taking advantage of more than $90,000 in match and challenge funds contributed by Western alumni, friends, faculty and staff.

Gifts can be easily made online at Most major credit cards, bank transfers and mobile wallets, such as PayPal and Venmo, are accepted.

Those who prefer to contribute via phone can call 309-298-1861 now through 9 p.m. CST on Wednesday, April 24.
To stay updated on the Western Challenge's progress, donors can follow the event on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter/X for real-time updates, donor tallies and exclusive content throughout the day.

Those interested in exploring additional ways of getting involved in the Western Challenge through advocacy or offering a Match or Challenge gift are encouraged to contact the Western Challenge team at

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