Each new academic year brings great and positive change to Millikin. Our new students – including a robust first-year class of 450, a lively group of transfers and a diverse group of international students at all levels – are men and women who renew, enrich and energize the life of our university. This year we also welcome 23 new, full-time faculty plus many new coaches and staff throughout the university.
Our work on the University Commons continues, and construction on the new Workman Family Softball Field has begun. Mills and Hessler residence halls are no more, and offices have moved around campus. I might be tempted to say to those who have not been back to campus in a while, “You would not recognize the place.”
But of course you would. The spirit and energy at the heart of a Millikin education endures, becoming more vibrant each year. As we come to understand who we are and what we can become, our faculty, staff and students are coming to recognize and own the distinctive character of a Millikin education: Performance Learning.
Ever since James Millikin founded this university in 1901, Millikin has been marked by a commitment to an education that bridges boundaries of disciplines and real-world practice, not just after graduation but as soon as our students walk on campus.
Performance Learning is not easy. We expect a lot of one another at Millikin. We expect hard work, creativity and an education in action from our students, faculty, staff and alumni.
When I greet new faculty, staff and students, I tell them we are so glad they are here because, as great as Millikin has been, we will be even greater in the future because of their performance. Performance Learning is full of challenges and risks that can be at times frightening but immensely rewarding. You can see that excitement in recent grad Tyler Hixson’s account of his experience.
I hope you will read this issue [of Millikin Quarterly] and take pride in Millikin – in how we are performing and creating an exciting university that looks to the future with promise, hope and a commitment to perform our best imagination of what we can become together.
As you read this issue, I hope your trust and faith in Millikin is confirmed, and even more, I hope you feel a solid commitment to our shared future. No great institution happens by accident. A great university grows and prospers when more and more people feel a deep ownership for its future. Millikin can only be Millikin if we work together to perform who we are and what we can become. We have much work to do to achieve the greatness embedded in our history, in Performance Learning, and our vision of Millikin’s future.
In the coming months, I want to enlarge the conversation about who we are as Millikin and what we can become. I would love to hear your ideas and questions, and I welcome your ownership of Millikin’s present and future success. Please talk to your friends and fellow alumni, and write to me at the address on the back of this magazine, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I welcome this widening conversation, which will itself be a form of Performance Learning that will positively shape Millikin, both now and for many years to come.
Patrick E. White
Millikin University President