At IWU, We’re Family

Segment #6 from Illinois Wesleyan University


Besides academic excellence and opportunities to cultivate multiple talents, Illinois Wesleyan is known for its friendly and supportive community. Lots of small schools talk about their supportive atmosphere, at IWU, the faculty and staff back up that talk with action. Meet Ellie, a senior English major, whose life took a turn she didn’t expect. When it did, the Illinois Wesleyan community was there with open arms. Ellie, it’s your time to tell your story.


– Thanks, Alex. I wanted to attend Illinois Wesleyan University, since I was 12 years old, and I started going to the Chamber Music Festival. I wanted to go to Wesleyan so bad, but it was the only school I applied to, which was pretty nerve-racking. I had no idea how much this school would change my life. On the first day of orientation, I met my now fiance, Hector. Going into our sophomore spring semester, we were met with a wonderful surprise we chose to embrace. We were expecting a baby. We immediately reached out to the school to discuss what kind of accommodations we could get to ensure our future academic success. They really went out of their way to help us. Our son was born exactly one week before the start of junior year. Thought first day of classes was really hard because I didn’t feel ready to leave him yet. However, one of my professors pulled me aside and told me how happy she was to see me. I immediately felt better because I knew that she didn’t just see me as a student, but as a whole person. The pandemic heightened everyone’s anxiety. I was particularly stressed with a newborn baby at home. I reached out to my professors, and every single one of them allowed me to go online for two weeks while the case is decreased. While this created some extra work for them, they were all willing to do it to keep my son safe and also ease my anxiety. Completing my degree ensures my son’s future, and I am so thankful to be a part of a university that understands that life happens outside of the classroom. Our son has truly become a part of this university. He is greeted and passed around not only by my friends, but also by my professors. I am so thankful to be raising my son as a part of this community. Here at Illinois Wesleyan, we have a tradition of walking across the stage at graduation and touching the pineapple. Not only a symbol of hospitality, but also about going into the world and doing good. And my graduation, I can’t wait to touch the pineapple and hopefully, one day, my son will too. Well, that’s my story. Back to you, Alex.


– Ellie, you, Hector, and Raphael, make a beautiful Titan family. Building relationships and support, between faculty and students isn’t unique to Ellie. Professors and staff alike are known to host students at their homes for dinner, a 10 backyard barbecues at the president’s house here on campus or me at the local coffee shop to discuss ideas from class. IWU is a family that truly cares for one another, and that is awesome.

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