Dr. C Kimm Hollis2022 ALUMNUS OF THE YEAR

Dr. C. Kimm Hollis
Class of 1972

Millikin Major
Applied Music

Other degrees, including awarding institutions

M.M. - University of Illinois
D.A. and Performance Certificate - Ball State University



Employer and job title

Hanover College, Hanover, Ind., 1975-2016
Former Music Department Chair
Professor of Music and Artist in Residence Emeritus

Why did you choose to attend Millikin?

I almost didn’t attend Millikin. My parents and I visited a lot of schools. Millikin was the last. When we parked the car, I refused to get out. I wasn’t interested, knew I would not be accepted, and it was quite a “battle!” I got out of the car … finally … wasn’t in the admission office for 15 minutes … I loved it. Millikin was a perfect fit, and I knew from that day the School of Music was for me. Getting out of that car began my career!

What activities did you participate in while a student at Millikin?

I was music-centered. Spent most of my time in the School of Music.

What are some of your accomplishments since graduating from Millikin?

  • Millikin Alumni Loyalty Award
  • Founded and support the Hollis Prize competition for the School of Music in 2003. The competition is unique among undergraduate music competitions due to its recital performance format and rigorous audition process.
  • Initiated and supported a “Kickstart Challenge” to fund state-of-the-art technology and renovations for Millikin’s Kaeuper Hall. Also sponsored several other enhancements to Millikin’s School of Music, including financial support that named four areas within the facility in honor of the Hollis family.
  • Hanover College Mortar Board Professor of the Year Award
  • Special Friend Award from the Madison-Jefferson County Historical Society
  • The Distinguished Hoosier Award – one of the highest tributes given by the Governor of Indiana to those who have brought honor and respect to the state.
  • Inducted into the National Piano Guild Teachers Hall of Fame
  • Adjudicator for three national music organizations
  • Judge for Indiana State School Music Association District/State Contests and the annual Young Hoosier Piano Competition Preliminaries and Finals
  • Author of four editions of the Required Piano Solo List Manual for the Indiana State School Music Association as well as seven supplementary texts for Hanover College music courses
  • Chair of several contests and competitions, including the Southern Indiana Music Teachers Association Auditions
  • Held Carnegie Doctoral Fellowship at Ball State University

Apart from supporting the Big Blue, what is your favorite pastime?

My favorite pastime is being in and around Santa Fe, N.M. Anything Southwest draws my curiosity, and I can’t get enough of the cultures there. Everything flamenco and the annual Spanish Market are my favorites.

What Millikin professor or staff member made the greatest impact on you, and why?

There were several … but without a doubt, Margaret Peterson played the most important role. Frankly, her playing was unmatched, her standards were uncompromising, and she was a musician’s musician. I always tried to do my best. For me, she was the perfect teacher, a wonderful friend, and still today I miss her weekly telephone calls and visits we had at each other’s homes.

What is your most memorable Millikin experience?

Miss Peterson came to Hanover College when Carole Wessler ’62 and I performed the Bach double concerto with the HC-Madison Area Orchestra. Jon Mitchell ’71 was the orchestra conductor at the college. Of course, at rehearsals she attended Carole and I did nothing “right.” And not much time was left to redo some things.

Miss Peterson was sitting with my parents and friends in the back of the recital hall. When Carol, Jon, and I walked onto the stage for our opening bows, there she was … front row center. When we finished she had tears running down her face … my study with her at Millikin I’ve never forgotten. I’ve never forgotten Millikin and everything the school shared and still shares with me. All my experiences were and are memorable.

What is one concept you learned at Millikin that you use regularly?

Curiosity. Be curious, stay curious; curiosity will keep you on the go. How can one ever stop being curious?

What advice would you give to current MU students about preparing for life after graduation?

It’s the best four years of your life. Take advantage of everything AND Study, Study, Study!

Is there anything else you would like to share with the Millikin community?

Betsy Bloomingdale always said that she lived in a special time with special people; she did special things, and everything around her was special and a big deal … all providing her an extraordinarily special life. These are my exact words about how I feel about my experiences at Millikin and the life Millikin has graciously given me.