Good call! IHSA picks two from WIU

Ever wondered if it rankles the refs when those heckling fans cry out from the stands?

WIU employees serve as referees

Kiah (left) and Moran confer on the courts

Or have you ever asked yourself why anyone would willingly put themselves in the position of having to make the tough calls?

Actually, for a WIU public safety officer (Lt. Sam Moran) and the director of the University Bookstore and Go West bus system (Jude Kiah)–who’ve been working as state basketball officials for more than 20 years in addition to their full-time jobs–it’s a passion and a long-honored partnership.

Kiah and Moran were chosen to officiate at the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Class 3A/4A tournament in Peoria (IL) this past weekend. They were assigned to the March 19 4A semifinal (Chicago Whitney Young v. Waukegan) and the March 20 (Champaign Centennial v. Chicago Marshall) 3A third-place game.

“The Friday game was spectacular,” Kiah said. “There was a huge crowd, with 10 Division 1 athletes on both teams combined, and a buzzer beater,” he said. “We couldn’t have asked for a better game. And we were proud to represent this side of the state.”

Kiah added that he and Moran received notes and calls of congratulations from fellow officials, as well as friends and family, from across the U.S.

“For officials, being congratulated and honored is certainly a switch from how business is normally conducted,” Kiah quipped.

And how exactly do they handle those moments when the crowd might not be cheering?

Find out that and more by clicking on the full story here.

Taking ag to a whole new horizon

For WIU alumnus John Carroll, farming is a family tradition, but now his family’s tradition is to do something …non-traditional.

Carroll received his bachelor’s (business-agriculture ’02) and master’s (MBA’03) from WIU, where he met his wife, Kelly (Kaufman) Carroll ’03 (accountancy).

And while business and agriculture students may already be prepped for changing markets, Carroll is applying his educational background and family history to a whole new level: farming in Brazil.

As he explained in a recent story from the Quincy (IL) Herald-Whig, (Carroll is a native of the west central Illinois region), Carroll is now CEO of the family farming operation, which includes managing about 20,000 acres of cotton, as well as 9,000 acres of soybeans, in South America.John Carroll in Brazil

“I’d never seen a cotton plant until I went to Brazil,” Carroll said.
Carroll Farms Brazil now owns 8,000 acres and share-crops the rest with U.S. landowners in the state of Bahia, about five hours northeast of Brasilia, the country’s capitol.

Why Brazil?

And how did he get there?

To find out how a Midwestern farm boy become a CEO in another country, read the full story here.

(Check out Western’s business and agriculture programs on our web site at

History you walk(ed) by every day.

Hey, current students and/or Western grads: ever wondered why that residence hall you call home–or that building you went to most often for the classes in your major– is called “Olson” or “Brophy” or “Simpkins”?

Where do campus buildings get their names?

Olson Hall

Olson Hall... and Olson who?

Or, to put it another way:

  • What do buildings on Western’s Macomb campus have to do with the War of 1812?
  • Is it true, or just a legend, that the windows in Malpass Library really spell out the name of a state–and not the state we’re living in?
  • Which Western building was once the site of a speech by Eleanor Roosevelt?

Western student Matt Fischer recently dug up the answers to these questions and more campus history in his recent feature story, “The names behind the masonry,” for the Western Courier, the student-run newspaper.

For his research, Fischer spoke with University Archives experts who filled him in on some of Western’s most interesting architectural tidbits.

Read the full story from the Western Courier. And add your memories about living and learning in campus buildings in the comments below!