Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas told a standing room only crowd in the University Union that WIU takes pride in having avoided layoffs and furloughs despite the state’s financial woes over the past decade.
The Founder's Day speech by WIU President Jack Thomas
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.
Construction will start soon on the next phase of Western Illinois University's campus in the Quad Cities.
Local and state leaders were on hand Wednesday afternoon to break ground for the second building at the new riverfront campus in Moline.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn called it a prudent investment by the people of the state.
"We believe in jobs, and one of the very best ways to have good jobs today and tomorrow is to invest in education," Quinn told the crowd. "We want to make sure that all of our students get a good education."
Western Illinois University is facing another year of reduced state funding while also playing a waiting game with the state.
WIU President Jack Thomas has asked each vice president at the school to reduce his or her division's total budget by 2%. Thomas said the state reduced it support of Western for the new fiscal year by $3.4 million, a cut of more than 6%.
He said WIU recently received a $6.3 million payment from the state but is still owed around $13 million for the Fiscal Year 2012, which ended June 30.