The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

New grants to help Eastern community

Cam’ron Hardy
Jay Gatrell president of Eastern Illinois University talks about spring updates and goals for the semester at Doudna Fine Arts Center, Duorak Concert Hall.

Editors Note: This article has been corrected for accuracy


Eastern has received new grants to improve academic life for students and faculty, said President Jay Gatrell at the 2024 spring update Wednesday in the Doudna Fine Arts Center at 8:30 a.m.

One of the grants received will help with the advancement of the science building, which has been in the works for years.

Eastern will request an 8% increase in appropriation for fiscal year 2025. Additionally, Eastern will request reappropriation for a new science building.

“While phase one of the design process has been completed, we continue to work with the Capital Development Board to move forward and anticipate launching the project’s next phase design develop before the end of the fiscal year,” Gatrell said.

Other structural improvements to be made to the university include O’Brien stadium, the Coaches Stadium field roof replacement, enhanced learning spaces and academic hubs for parents in Booth Library and a new East Central Illinois Innovation Hub.

Eastern received $12 million from the state, which is $19 million total in new financial support from the state, to upgrade utilities and infrastructures.

Additionally, Eastern received a $200,000 grant which will be used to expand campus services including the food pantry, enhance access to child care and provide to students who are in a crisis.

“The [Faculty Development and Innovation Center] will be inviting departments to submit one page proposals and timelines for course redesigns across all sections for 1000 and 2000 level multi section general education courses, enrolling more than 50 combined students,” Gatrell said.

Due to this, the university will fund up to 10 $5,000 loan grants to support course redesigns. This process will begin next semester.

For academic departments that decrease the amount of students that receive letter grades of a D or F, or the amount of students that withdraw from courses by at least 7.5 percent, in either Fall 2024 or Fall 2025 comparative to the prior three years, the university will provide a one time investment of $7,500 into the departments gift account.

Gatrell welcomed new people into the campus leadership team including:

  • Inaugural Senior Diversity Inclusion Officer – John Blue
  • Internal Auditor – Natalie Black
  • Vice President for University Advancement – Mindy Spencer, who will start the role in February

Gatrell said he his goal is to focus on recruitment and retention at Eastern and will continue to work on Plan 2028.

There will a progress meeting regarding Plan 2028 by the implementation team where they will report their findings with Eastern March 26 at 2 p.m. in the Doudna Fine Arts Center Recital Hall.

Eastern helps contribute more than $370 million to the economy as well as support more than 4,500 jobs throughout the state, according to Gatrell.

“The university’s overall impact translates into over $54 million in additional state and tax revenues,” Gatrell said. “This data is critical, as they demonstrate the positive impact of EIU on our state’s economies, and the many ways in which we effectively leverage the state’s $46.5 million appropriation to produce a net benefit of roughly $325 million in economic activity, with total tax receipts that exceed our annual appropriation of more than $7 million.”

Eastern will have two new bachelors of arts and science degrees and a master in special education, which was discussed at last week’s board of trustees meeting.

Gatrell said, “Higher education needs to meet the needs of our students and reconfigure the long taken for granted practices and policies that have upheld structural privilege with the objective of accelerating social mobility for all.”

The FDIC and Michael Gillespie–sociology, anthropology and criminology professor– will host the first pedagogy event March 14.

Gatrell said the event will emphasize art and science, and how it changes the work people do, as well as the positive impacts it holds.

Gatrell also celebrated the academic work of Eastern’s student athletes.


Cam’ron Hardy can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].

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Cam’ron Hardy
Cam’ron Hardy, News Editor
Cam'ron is a junior journalism major. He previously served news editor and campus editor at The News. 

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