WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Western Illinois University

Rich Egger

The Macomb and Western Illinois University communities gathered to celebrate the life of Gil Belles.  Belles, 76, was killed in late May when his car was hit by an Amtrak train.

Courtesy WIU

The budget approved by Illinois lawmakers provides Western Illinois University with funding for last fiscal year and the current fiscal year. Now university leaders will decide how to proceed.

Rich Egger (file photo)

The Illinois House passed a spending plan along with a tax hike and revenue plan as politicians try to end the two year budget stalemate.  Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) is one of the Republicans who broke ranks with their party and joined Democrats in supporting the measures.

A few dozen faculty members from Western Illinois University gathered on the steps of Sherman Hall for a group photo on Friday, the eve of Illinois entering a third fiscal year without a state budget. The gathering was organized in an effort to show solidarity and support for the union's  Unit B faculty.

"A Beautiful Implosion" of Higgins Hall

Jul 1, 2017
Jonathan Ahl

It cost Western Illinois University $7.3 million to build Higgins Hall, a residence hall that opened in the fall of 1967.  The university said it would cost around $48 million today to renovate it into a "like-new" facility, so instead the building was imploded Saturday morning during an event that drew hundreds of people to the Macomb campus.

Rich Egger

Members of the Western Illinois University Board of Trustees said President Jack Thomas has done "an admirable job" of steering the university through difficult times brought on by the unprecedented state budget impasse. 

Jonathan Ahl

Many universities and music festivals attract young musicians to spend part of their summer playing in a big orchestra. But Western Illinois University’s School of Music is trying something different and going small.

Rich Egger

State spending on public higher education in Illinois has dropped precipitously during the past two years as the state has operated without a budget.  But the president of Western Illinois University said the school will not allow itself to be bogged down by the budget stalemate.

Rich Egger

Western Illinois University is taking a wait-and-see approach to renewing the contracts of some of its professors for the fall semester. The decision follows the Illinois Legislature adjourning the spring legislative session without passing a state budget. Illinois is wrapping up the second fiscal year without a comprehensive spending plan.

Emily Boyer

Gil Belles, age 76, professor emeritus of Western Illinois University's Recreation, Park, and Tourism Administration (RPTA) department, was killed when his car collided with an Amtrak train.

Rich Egger

Higher education has been among the areas feeling the pain from the state budget impasse in Illinois as funding has been cut.  It has forced some schools to reduce classes, lay off employees, and, in some cases, close for several days. 

College professors across Illinois will step away from their classrooms to rally in Springfield on Thursday, April 27. The event called Teach Out for Illinois Higher Education is in response to the state budget stalemate.

Tim Rains/National Park Service/Wikimedia Commons

The coats of around 20 animal species go from brown in the summer to white in the winter.  Researchers are studying whether climate change is causing those animals to adapt.

Rich Egger

A Western Illinois University administrator said the school has enough money to make it through the Spring semester. But he's not saying much about the contingency plan WIU is developing in case the ongoing shortfall of state funding continues.

Rich Egger

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner's budget proposal this year recommends funding higher education at 85% of what the state provided in fiscal year 2015.  State Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) said that's not enough.

TSPR's Emily Boyer

Western Illinois University is an economic driver in the region by employing  hundreds of people and bringing in thousands of students to the campuses in Macomb and the Quad Cities. The University also strives to grow the local economy by lending a helping hand to entrepreneurs and small business owners through its Small Business Development Center.

Rich Egger

On a beautiful, sunny, late February Sunday, I worked with my parents to put up a basketball net for my son, Jack's, ninth birthday. I knew this was a gift Jack would use daily. And sure, enough, the morning after his birthday, he was out back, shooting baskets at 6:39 a.m.

Rich Egger

Western Illinois University Women's Basketball Coach J.D. Gravina is elated. Many coaches go a whole career without making it to the NCAA tournament. He's made it in just his sixth year at Western, which is his first Division I head coaching job.

Rich Egger

Western Illinois University is continuing to urge state lawmakers to approve a new state budget that adequately funds higher education.

Courtesy photo

Only around 200 institutions in the world can boast of being an All Steinway School. The School of Music at Western Illinois University intends to join that select group.

Emily Boyer/Tri States Public Radio

During a trip to Macomb, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) called out her home state and the federal government for not making college more affordable.

TSPR Emily Boyer

A federal appeals court has blocked President Trump's executive order banning immigrants from seven Muslim majority countries from entering the U.S. The administration is expected to issue a revised travel ban soon.  In the meantime, many colleges and universities are standing by international students.

TSPR

There are 9,469 students enrolled at Western Illinois University this spring semester. It's the first time this century Western's student body has dropped below 10,000.

The White House

Presidents' Day is celebrated in the U.S. to honor the people who've held the nation's highest public office.  Tri States Public Radio talked to a couple historians about the 35th president, Democrat John F. Kennedy, because this year marks the centennial of Kennedy's birth (May 29, 1917).

Rich Egger

The street that goes through the heart of the Western Illinois University is in poor condition right now. All the traffic -- especially from buses and trucks - has been tough on the asphalt road so the city plans to remake Western Avenue during the summer months.

courtesy Heather McIlvaine-Newsad

One of the things I love about my job is the daily opportunity to interact with students.  In sitting and listening to them I am constantly amazed about how they make sense of their world.  Anthropologists call this method ethnography.  And while it is somewhat out of vogue and deemed by many to be something that anyone can do, there is much to be learned from the art of really listening and observing. 

The Arab student population has been growing at Western Illinois University in recent years even though Macomb can feel like a completely different world for those coming to WIU from the Middle East.

Rich Egger

The state of Illinois has gone 18 months without a budget.  And the stop gap spending plan is about to expire with no new deal in sight.

Western Illinois University

Over the course of 4 days in November, 144 of the best flutists in the world came to Chicago to audition for the second flute position with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. John McMurtery auditioned and was chosen to be one of five finalists.

Rich Egger

The Illinois Board of Higher Education agreed to provide additional financial support to three public universities.  The $20 million comes from the state's stop-gap funding measure.

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