University comes to decision on nickname unification
Courtesy: University Relations  
Release: Thursday 06/05/2009
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Courtesy: Western Illinois University
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MACOMB, Ill. -- After a two-year deliberation, Western Illinois University President Al Goldfarb reached a decision to unify the athletic team names. Beginning Fall 2009, all Western Illinois athletics teams will be called the Leathernecks. Goldfarb made the announcement today (June 5) at the Board of Trustees meeting. The Board of Trustees unanimously approved the decision.

Prior to the decision-making process, Goldfarb met with coaches from Western women's and men's athletic teams, student-athletes, Western Athletic Club members and campus leadership groups. Input was also collected from alumni, members of the campus community and others through e-mail submissions and a web-based based survey. The original proposal to unify the name was brought forward to Goldfarb by Vice President for Student Services Garry Johnson and Athletic Director and Assistant Vice President for Student Services Tim Van Alstine on behalf of requests they receive annually from women's teams coaches and players.

"I thoroughly reviewed and read every letter, survey and e-mail, and I listened to all of the constituency groups. This was not an easy decision, nor was this a task I took lightly," Goldfarb said. "I considered all points of view and felt it was in the best interest for our student-athletes in regards to equity and marketing to unify the athletic team names."

Currently, WIU women's teams are named Westerwinds, and men's teams are named Leathernecks. In 1927 Western first used the Leathernecks name for men’s athletic teams. In 1977 the Westerwinds name was established for women's intercollegiate athletics teams.

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