Moline, IL – Western Illinois University pulled out all the stops to celebrate the opening of the first building for its riverfront campus in the Quad Cities. The ribbon cutting ceremony featured Governor Pat Quinn, a balloon drop with confetti, more money for the QC campus, an honor for a past president, and a new ice cream flavor.
Governor Quinn said 1,400 students currently attend Western in the Quad Cities. But now with more space the university plans to increase enrollment to 3,000. The governor said that will boost the local economy.
"The purchasing power of the campus right now is about $10 million," Quinn said. "But it will go up to $50 million by our expansion and building."
The governor also announced the release of $38 million more in state capital funds for the next phase of the project. Bidding is scheduled for June, with completion in 2014.
Spring classes started in the newly completed 60,000 square foot building on Tuesday, January 17. It's home to Western's College of Business and Technology, plus academic and student services, and administration.
Deere & Company gave the 20 acre site to WIU nine years ago, and crews broke ground in 2010.
Honoring the Goldfarbs
The atrium at the newly completed building has been named the Alvin & Elaine Goldfarb Grand Atrium.
Goldfarb served as Western's 10th president from July 2002 to June 2011.
A WIU news release stated Goldfarb was instrumental in seeking support and funding for an expanded Quad Cities campus. The release quotes Goldfarb's successor and current WIU President Jack Thomas:
"It is fitting to name the atrium after Al and Elaine. They continue to be committed to, and involved with, Western, and during their time at WIU, the Goldfarbs were active members of the Macomb and Quad Cities campuses and communities."
You Scream, I Scream...
A Quad Cities company honored WIU and its new campus, by creating a new flavor of ice cream. Whitey's Ice Cream said the flavor is called "Western Rocks!"
Co-owner Jon Tunberg said it's similar to Rocky Road.
"It has a chocolate base with a variety of chocolate-covered nuts and mini marshmallows swirled throughout," said Tunberg.
A portion of the proceeds from sales of "Western Rocks!" will be donated to the university's scholarship fund for Quad Cities students.
Whitey's Ice Cream, which is made in Moline, has stores throughout the Quad Cities and in Iowa City and Coralville, Iowa. The company was founded in 1933.
Thanks to WVIK Augustana Public Radio