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Haley with three scholarship recipients from L-R: Licia Lee, Mykel Coney, and Ania Binder
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L-R: Interim President Kristi Mindrup, Haley, and Vice President for Advancement, Alumni Relations and Athletics Clare Thompson
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The Gift of Opportunity: Alumnus Commits $1 Million to Fund Scholarships; First Recipients Announced

May 2, 2024

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A version of this article first appeared in the Spring 2024 issue of Western: The Magazine for Alumni of Western Illinois University. This release has been updated with additional information.

MACOMB, IL - - In the fall of 1981, Robert Haley made the 160 mile trip north from East St. Louis to Macomb to begin his time as a student at Western Illinois University. More than four decades later, Haley is now helping other students from his hometown on their Leatherneck journeys.

Haley recently committed a transformational one million dollar pledge to fund scholarships for students from the 618 area code. The Robert H. Haley Education Excellence Scholarship Fund will provide financial assistance to up to 40 students from the 37 counties in the southern Illinois region.

During his time at WIU, Haley earned two degrees, graduating with a bachelor's degree in 1985 and a master's degree in 1987. He was actively involved in the Black Students Association and worked as a graduate assistant in the Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center.

"I cherish my time at Western," Haley said. "WIU allowed me to develop relationships with people from different parts of the world and gain a greater knowledge of cultural backgrounds that are different from mine."

Those relationships and knowledge equipped Haley for his professional career. Today, Haley is the CEO and chairperson of QIS Behavioral Health, an opioid treatment center outside Cincinnati, OH, which he opened in 2020. In 2017, Haley was instrumental in the opening of Choices Behavioral Health Care in Middletown, OH, a treatment center for adults with opiate dependence. Previously, Haley served as director of Premier Care of Ohio and Premier Care of Illinois.

After more than three decades of serving individuals with drug dependence, Haley is ready to lay a foundation of success for WIU students. With the Haley Education Excellence Scholarship, Haley will reduce financial burdens for students and provide them access to the necessary resources needed to pursue their degrees. Haley cares deeply about communities, including Cincinnati, Macomb and his hometown. His dedication to helping African-American students extends beyond his scholarship commitment and will also include mentorship when he returns to campus this spring.

With this inspirational gift to For the W: The Campaign for Western Illinois University, Haley provides a powerful, lasting impact on WIU. Countless students will benefit from his generosity for decades to come.

"Robert's million-dollar commitment to WIU students embodies the spirit of philanthropy and the incredible impact WIU alumni make in developing the next generation of Leathernecks. We are deeply grateful for Robert's generosity and his commitment to advancing educational opportunities for our deserving students," Vice President for Advancement, Alumni Relations and Athletics Clare Thompson said.

Director of Development for the College of Arts Sciences Amy Crosby worked with Haley on establishing the scholarship fund. When developing the criteria, Haley and Crosby worked to remove any potential barriers associated with the scholarship application.

"In my conversations with Robert, it became clear that, while this significant gift will provide much-needed support to WIU students, Robert also hopes to inspire others to answer the call and create more educational opportunities at WIU," Crosby said.

"It was important to me that we not require an application essay to expand the potential reach of this opportunity and support as many deserving students as possible. I am very excited for this opportunity to emphasize to WIU students and others how any goal can be achieved, regardless of the uncontrollable barriers that exist in our society," Haley said.

Haley returned to WIU in April 2024 to formalize the Haley Education Excellence Scholarship Fund. He had the opportunity to meet with Interim President Kristi Mindrup and Thompson and present the two with a ceremonial check.

More importantly, Haley was able to meet and share a meal with some of the inaugural recipients of the Haley Scholarship. Joining Haley for lunch were Ania Binder, a sophomore from East St Louis, IL; Mykel Coney, a sophomore from Belleville, IL; and Licia Lee, a sophomore from Belleville, IL. Additional recipients are Katelyn Czarnecki, an incoming freshman from Godfrey, IL, and Jailyn Wise-Palmer, an incoming freshman from Madison, IL. Each student will receive a $1,000 scholarship for the 2024-2025 school year.

"Receiving the Robert H. Haley Educational Excellence Scholarship has significantly
alleviated my financial burden, allowing me to focus more on the most important aspect
of my education: learning. This financial support is incredibly helpful and will enable me
to pursue my academic goals with greater ease and determination," said Binder.

While on campus in April, Haley was recognized for his generosity at the annual Performing Arts Society Gala, toured the Multicultural Center and met with additional faculty and staff on campus. During his visit, Haley was motivated to deepen his support of WIU. While visiting with Associate Director of the Multicultural Center LeRon Williams, Haley offered to contribute funds to underwrite additional materials and supplies for the Center. Williams is now working with students to develop their wish list for Haley.

"Leading by example is more valuable than words. However, keeping your word is priceless," said Haley, following his visit to campus.

As he works to fulfill his million-dollar scholarship pledge and furnish new resources for students, Haley is certainly keeping his word and leading by example while providing life-changing support for current and future Leathernecks.

To learn more about endowing a scholarship or other student resource fund like Haley's, contact Crosby at Details about the For The W comprehensive campaign are available at

Posted By: Drew Donahoo (
Office of University Communications & Marketing