University News

WIU to Celebrate 324 International Graduates From 32 Countries at Commencement

May 9, 2024

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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL - - Western Illinois University will proudly graduate 322 international students from 32 different countries this Spring 2024 Commencement.

The student numbers include 163 from India; 65 from Nigeria; 24 from the Caribbean; 18 from Ghana and 17 from Bangladesh.

"Both the number of graduates and countries represent individual records," WIU Associate Vice President for Global Studies Randy Glean said. "We are also graduating students from eight "first-time" countries. This is the most international event in our history and is a nice accent to the departure of our former president who toured internationally as a significant achievement."

Md Shahedur Rahman from Bangladesh chose WIU for his master's degree, and he states it was one of the best decisions of his academic career.

"The University not only provided me with an excellent academic environment but also offered numerous opportunities to engage and lead in diverse initiatives. As an international student, I found WIU extremely welcoming, which helped me excel and achieve a perfect 4.0 GPA, contribute to scholarly publications and actively participate in major conferences like NCA and CSCA. Being honored as the Thompson Graduate Scholar of the Year further exemplified the University's support for my academic endeavors," Rahman said. "My time at WIU has been profoundly impactful academically and personally. Serving as the president of the Bangladeshi Student Association, working closely with the Global Studies Office and representing my peers as a Graduate Student Senator of the Student Government Association allowed me to contribute to and enhance the international community on campus. I am grateful for the support and cooperation from every office and resident in Macomb, which truly made my time here memorable. WIU has prepared me well for my future endeavors, including my Ph.D. studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder."

Like Rahman, Mubarak Sanusi from Nigeria has also had a transformative experience, pursuing two master's degrees and serving as the president of the African Student Association.

"WIU has provided me with a supportive academic environment where I've been able to pursue my passions and expand my knowledge in both of my fields of study," Sanusi said.

"I chose WIU because of its diverse community and strong commitment to academic excellence. The welcoming atmosphere and opportunities for involvement on campus made it the perfect fit for me. Being part of the African Student Association has allowed me to connect with students from all over the world and celebrate the rich cultural diversity that WIU embodies," Sanusi said. "I am grateful for the experiences and opportunities that WIU has provided me, and I am confident that the skills and knowledge I've gained here will have a lasting impact on my future endeavors."

Lastly, Nikish Smith from Antigua and Barbuda in the Caribbean was given the chance to attend WIU, after being approached by Glean, and that was exactly what she was looking for.

"Even before I arrived in Macomb, the staff and faculty supported me. I want to shout out Dr. Tracy Davis and Dr. Julie Brines of the College Student Personnel (CSP) Program, Greta Dieter and Jessica Butcher of University Housing and Dining Services, Rocio Ayard Ochoa and Carl Ervin formerly of the Multicultural Center and Dr. Michelle Janisz of New Student and Family Programs for helping me to grow in my program and my assistantships," Smith said. " I learned invaluable lessons that have made me look forward to my career in student affairs. To my classmates in the CSP program, they made the classroom feel like home to me and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with my cohort. We were able to share our different perspectives and learn from each other. I felt appreciated and valued as an international student. WIU has been an excellent time for me as a graduate student and I recommend it to any international student. "

The graduates represent 32 countries, including Antigua, Australia, Bangladesh, Barbados, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, China, Columbia, Croatia, Dominica, France, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, India, Jamaica, Jordan, Kosovo, Mongolia, Nepal, Nigeria, Philippines, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

For more information on the Center for Global Studies, visit

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