A Tuesday morning class represents record enrollment at the WIU-QC Riverfront Campus. With just over 1,500 students enrolled to start the school year, it illustrates 9% growth at the Moline campus.
"To me, it's awesome to see the growth and the change," said Leann Weiss, 33, a WIU senior. "Newer students, younger students on campus."
During the annual Founders' Day, Dr. Jack Thomas praised riverfront programs and issued a call to innovate during challenging times.
WIU enrollment is down about 4% this semester while state funding remains flat. But that's after a 14% budget cut in recent years.
"Our main goal is to make sure that we promote academic excellence," said Dr. Jack Thomas, WIU President. "It's important that we move forward from being a good university to a great university."
That greatness starts with a $42 million expansion underway in Moline. The next step includes three new buildings. Hoping to open in August 2014, it will be an environment that supports education.
"This is progress," he said. "This is growth."
At the Riverfront Campus, it's all about moving forward and achieving. For non-traditional students like Weiss, it's the perfect mix.
Weiss is going back to school to make her dreams come true of becoming a writer. This campus is serving as the catalyst.
"Walking in here was just almost mind-blowing and breathtaking," she said about the campus opening in 2012. "Just the lengths they went to make such a facility for us."
It's a campus for the entire community.
"It really is just a wonderful experience," she said.
In Moline, there's no wait to be great at WIU.