MACOMB, Ill. (NEWS3) – Western Illinois University started classes 117 years ago this month, and the university is celebrating with its annual Founders’ Day.
WIU was founded in 1899 after the Illinois State Legislature passed a bill to establish WIU (then called Western Illinois State Normal School). Macomb was selected in 1900 and classes began on Sept 23, 1902.
The celebration will begin at 1 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 23 on the front steps of Sherman Hall. Former WIU employee Lana Myers will ring the ceremonial bell. Myers is the granddaughter of Edwin DeCamp, who first rang the bell in 1902 to signal the start of classes at Western Illinois.
After the bell ringing, the national anthem will be performed as well as the presentation of colors by the WIU ROTC Color Guard and a performance of WIU’s “Alma Mater.”
WIU Acting President Martin Abraham will end the celebration with a short speech celebrating WIU’s history and achievements, followed by an informal reception on the front lawn of Sherman Hall.
“I’d like to invite all members of our University community, as well as area residents, to join us on the front steps of Sherman Hall on Sept. 23 to celebrate Western’s very beginnings,” Abraham said. “We should all be proud of our long history and the strides we’ve made over the years. And while the University has certainly evolved throughout the years, what hasn’t changed is Western’s commitment to higher education and preparing our students to be successful graduates.”
The celebration and reception is open and free to the public.
There will also be a celebration the next day, Tuesday Sept. 24 at the Quad Cities campus at 7:30 a.m. in the Building C atrium.