WIUM Tristates Public Radio

WIU's Thomas: Let Us Not Forget

Sep 24, 2012

Western Illinois University celebrated its founding by looking ahead to its future.  The annual Founder's Day ceremony was highlighted by President Jack Thomas, who delivered a 20 minute speech with the theme “Let Us Not Forget.”

“Let us not forget that we have an excellent history of providing access to a wide range of students, and we must remain an institution that is affordable,” Thomas said, adding that he considers WIU affordable when compared to peer institutions.

Dr Thomas lauded student achievements and said WIU is placing a greater emphasis on its Centennial Honors College. He also said the university awards millions of dollars in scholarships every year. In addition, he also praised the new “Building Connections” mentoring program for first year students.

Thomas said WIU faces challenges that include decreased state funding, declining enrollment, and deferred maintenance of its facilities. But he said Western can overcome those challenges.

“With the help of all constituents, this institution will continue to be that shining city that sits high upon the hill,” Thomas said.

He said progress on the Macomb campus will come with the new science complex, construction of the Performing Arts Center, and the addition of a welcome center. He also pointed to the new Quad Cities campus as an example of the strides being made by WIU.

Thomas concluded by urging the audience to not forget the university's past presidents, faculty members, and others who made contributions to Western.