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WIU Reaches $60 Million Goal with Seven-Figure Gift

After more than six years of fundraising, Western Illinois University has hit its $60 million goal for the school's capital campaign.

That's thanks to a sizable gift by two Western alumni who are long time supporters of the university.

Dr. Ken and Lorraine Epperson have been involved with Western since earning their bachelors’ degrees in the 1940’s.

I felt like it would be appropriate for us to remember and to give back

Western would not disclose the exact amount of their seven figure gift, which is made up of an outright gift and a bequest.

WIU did say $1.5 million of it is earmarked for the proposed Performing Arts Center. The university has been waiting for years for the state to release construction money for the project.

Both Eppersons said it felt like the right time to help their alma mater.

"I felt like it would be appropriate for us to remember and to give back, that's the main reason," Ken Epperson said.

"Being near the end of the campaign it was a good time to help put it over," Lorraine Epperson added.

WIU President, Jack Thomas is thrilled that Western hit its goal, but emphasized the university is not finished fundraising.

"It's still not enough, we still have to do more. I just sent him an email a few weeks ago saying we want to get out so I can meet more donors," Thomas said.

The university might have to continue those efforts without WIU Foundation Executive Officer Brad Bainter.

He is one of four finalists for the Vice-Chancellor for University Advancement at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. He would be in charge of SIU-E's Foundation.

Scott Stuntz is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.