In 1899, a bill to establish Western Illinois University (then called Western Illinois State Normal School) was passed by the state legislature. Macomb was selected in 1900 as the location for the new normal school in west central Illinois, and on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 1902, Western Illinois State Normal School opened its doors for the first official day of classes on the new campus.
Faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members are invited to celebrate the founding of Western at the 29th annual Founders’ Day Celebration Friday, Sept. 23 on the front steps of Sherman Hall, where classes were held for the first time 120 years ago.
The 2022 Founders’ Day Celebration will begin at 8:30 a.m. on the front steps of Sherman Hall with the ceremonial bell ringing by Lana Myers, a retired University employee and granddaughter of Edwin DeCamp, who first rang the bell Sept. 23, 1902, to signal the start of classes at Western Illinois State Normal School.
President Guiyou Huang will speak, as will Provost Manoochehr Zoghi and Board Chair and Western alumnus Doug Shaw. English Professor Emeritus and University Archivist John Hallwas will present a brief history of WIU. [Rain location: Sherman Hall Auditorium]. An informal reception will be held immediately following in the Admissions Welcome Center, Sherman Hall first floor.
“I am so excited to join you, in person, for the 2022 Founders’ Day celebration at Western Illinois University,” Huang said. “In 1902, 120 years ago this year, Western Illinois University began its longstanding mission of providing an accessible education for all. Today, we proudly continue this mission as we prepare students from around the world for a successful career and for their life’s journeys. I look forward to seeing you Sept. 23 as we celebrate WIU.”
***Courtesy of Western Illinois University***