University News

Double Trouble: Celebrate Ray's and Rocky's Birthdays Feb. 22, Feb. 23

February 14, 2019

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MACOMB, IL -- It's paw-ty time!

Col. Rock III - aka Rocky, WIU mascot emeritus - will turn nine Sunday, March 3, and his little cousin, Western's newest mascot, Col. Rock IV - aka Ray - turned one Thursday, Feb. 14. To celebrate their special days, a birthday party for the pair will be held from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22 in the University Union Concourse. The celebration will include cupcakes (for their friends and the birthday boys) and Rocky & Ray stickers (and posing for photos). High fives and paw shakes (and probably a few "speaks") will also be part of the celebration.

In addition, the birthday boys will be the stars of the show again with a community celebration from 4-8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23 in Western Hall as part of the WIU men's and women's basketball game.

Col. Rock IV (also known as Ray, after WIU's legendary longtime coach and athletic director Ray "Rock" Hanson) arrived in Macomb in June. WIU alumni Joe Roselieb, director of residential and auxiliary facilities, and Ketra Russell, director of auxiliary finances/contracts, house and train (and chauffeur) Ray, while Rocky lounges about and "supervises" the training. Much like how his older cousin came to Western, the generosity of the Siess family, the WIU Foundation and a few private donors, brought Ray to the University.

Col. Rock III became a member of the Leatherneck family in May 2010 as a 10-week-old pup. Roselieb was selected as Rocky's person, and for nine years he has overseen every aspect of Rocky's care, from providing him with a loving home to teaching the "old" dog new tricks to making sure he's healthy to taking him to numerous WIU and community events each year. Rocky officially "announced" his retirement in Summer 2018.

Col. Rock III and Col. Rock IV are AKC-certified English bulldogs that were donated to Western by Richard and Beth Siess of the Siess Ranch in Seneca, KS. Dr. Karen Blakeley of Macomb's All Pets Veterinary Clinic and the WIU School of Agriculture, along with other University and community organizations and individuals, make sure that Rock's and Ray's needs are tended to.

To help supplement funding for Rocky's care, the Western Illinois University Foundation established the Col. Rock Fund. Donating is simple: text the word "Rocky" to 84700 to make a $10 contribution to the WIU Foundation. Donations, made payable to WIU Foundation, can also be sent to: WIU Foundation, 303 Sherman Hall, 1 University Circle, Macomb, IL 61455-1390. Contributors who send in donations are asked to include a note that designates the gifts for Colonel Rock's Fund.

To follow Col. Rock on Facebook, key "Colonel Rock" in the search bar or go to his page at

For more information on Rocky's Fund, contact the WIU Foundation Office at (309) 298-1861.

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations