Center for Theatre & Dance Ribbon Cutting

Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020 at 10 a.m. CST

Click here to view the livestream recording and audio transcript, a message from President Emeritus Dr. Patrick E. White and a live tour by Mary Black!


Millikin School of Theatre and Dance

Millikin officially broke ground on its new Center for Theatre & Dance during a ceremony held on May 18, 2018. The new Center promises to be a centralized location for creativity to be cultivated, fostered and displayed, and will also provide a new venue for Millikin performing arts to delight, inform and inspire audiences.

The $29 million project features a 260-seat flexible theatre which includes an orchestra pit, balcony and tech gallery with a tension wire grid. The new building also features lighting and sound labs, a costume studio, a costume classroom, collaboration spaces and offices and support facilities for current staff with room for growth. 

Located at the former site of the Richards Treat University Center, Millikin’s Center for Theatre & Dance also has four acting studios, two dance studios, two design classrooms and practice rooms as well as all-new modern theatre equipment and LED lights. 

Gifts have been made to support fundraising efforts by our community of generous alumni, community leaders and Board of Trustees. Fundraising efforts are ongoing. You can give now to help support the Center for Theatre & Dance. View the full Center for Theatre & Dance video playlist

Give Now CfTaD Naming Opportunities

August 31, 2020: Millikin's new performance space makes a statement

What was the former site of the Richards Treat University Center has now become an architectural marvel that is Millikin University's new Center for Theatre & Dance. The $29 million project has created a lot of excitement around Millikin's campus since breaking ground in May 2018.

Opened this August, the new Center features a 260-seat flexible theatre, including an orchestra pit, balcony and tech gallery with a tension wire grid. Designed by Decatur-based design firm BLDD – Carson Durham, lead architect for the project, understood the Center would need to be exceptional, yet fit well among the other campus buildings.

Read the full article here

August 28, 2020: Millikin's brand new facility opens its doors

For months the Millikin University campus community has been witnessing a change in scenery with the construction of the new Center for Theatre & Dance, all starting with a groundbreaking back in May 2018.

This August, the change is complete. Millikin's newest facility has opened its doors to students, faculty and staff, and for the College of Fine Arts and the School of Theatre & Dance, this change has been a long time coming.

Read the full article here

May 7, 2020: Millikin receives $100,000 gift for new Center for Theatre & Dance

Millikin University has received a generous gift of $100,000 from Dr. Paul and Shirley Stanley to support Millikin's new Center for Theatre & Dance. In addition to the $100,000 contribution, the Stanleys also made a $50,000 contribution toward the project during Millikin's "Transform MU" capital campaign.

The Stanleys are both retired following distinguished 40-year careers in the medical field; Paul as a physician specializing in internal medicine and Shirley as a clinical dietitian. The Stanleys are pillars of the Decatur, Ill., community, supporting a variety of philanthropic endeavors.

Read the full article here

March 25, 2020: Millikin School of Theatre & Dance recognized as a Top Theatre Program in the Midwest, a leading online resource for performers, providing content tailored for actors, musicians and dancers, has recently recognized Millikin University's School of Theatre & Dance as one of the "Top College Theatre Programs You Might Not Know, but Should in the Midwest."

Along with College Audition Project, looked into programs that offer all the components to help students prepare for a life in the entertainment industry.

"Helping students find the right programs for them is no easy task, and there are many things to take into consideration," writes. "With record numbers of auditioners this year, it is more important than ever for students to have a vast and varied list of schools in which they are interested. Our list is full of programs that have amazing offerings."

Read the full article here

February 13, 2020: Millikin launches new Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Performance Studies degree program

The Millikin University School of Theatre & Dance has announced the launch of a new Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Theatre and Performance Studies degree program to replace its current Bachelor of Arts in Theatre degree program. Students can be admitted into the new degree program starting in fall 2020.

The BA in Theatre and Performance Studies program retains the flexibility of Millikin's existing BA in Theatre program, but increases training focused on helping students develop analytical skills with an eye toward creating their own theatrical art.

Students admitted into the program will continue to take traditional courses in acting, directing, design and theatre history, but will now have new courses in advanced play analysis, devised theatre and performance studies. These courses will combine theory with practice, with students learning how to analyze performance and also then creating it.

Read the full article here

June 1, 2019: You are the Difference

New York alumni and friendsIn May, the Big Blue visited the Big Apple for the annual School of Theatre & Dance student showcase. Among the trip highlights, trustee Eric Zollinger ’97 hosted an evening reception with President Patrick White and his wife, Chris; alumni and friends attended several Broadway productions featuring Millikin alums, including Scott Taylor Rollison ’96 and Anthony Norman ’15; and exciting Center for Theatre & Dance construction updates were shared at the annual theatre and dance alumni reception.

During the reception, Trustee Zollinger also pledged to quadruple gifts made on or before June 28 in support of the Center for Theatre & Dance, up to a total of $25,000. If you have yet to contribute, or would like to offer additional support, we invite you to take advantage of this limited-time opportunity to make your gift four times as impactful.

Center for Theatre & DanceMake your gift today to support the Center for Theatre & Dance, where student-artists, faculty and the surrounding community will join together and engage in the arts. This is the moment. Millikin is the place. You are the difference.

Give Now →







March 30, 2019: Sharing Experience, Seeing Transformations

Michael Maize ’96In early March, Michael Maize ’96, Bachelor of Fine Arts in musical theatre, returned to Millikin University to share his professional expertise with Theatre & Dance students. Michael is well-known for his accomplishments in both film and television, including roles in “National Treasure: Book of Secrets,” “Eagle Eye,” “True Blood,” “Castle,” “Charmed,” “Without a Trace” and “CSI: NY.” During his two days at Millikin, Michael spoke with students about his experiences as an actor in Los Angeles and New York and led a workshop in which he worked on camera scenes with students.

In all likelihood, the next time Michael visits his alma mater, the University’s new Center for Theatre & Dance will be bustling with student-artists, faculty, staff, and community members. This revolutionary, collaborative space will offer the School of Theatre & Dance a centralized location — one where Performance Learning can be taught, creativity can be fostered, and the craft of theatre can be transformed. The talents of both Millikin and local community artists can be brought to light as we work together to collectively commit to the development of this new cultural center in the heart of Decatur.

This is the moment. Millikin is the place. You are the difference. Join us in making a gift to support the Center for Theatre & Dance, where future student-artists, faculty and community can join together to experience the arts. We need your financial support.

There’s never been a moment like this. There’s never been a place like ours.


February 4, 2019: Visible Changes Expanding across Millikin's Campus

center for theatre and danceConstruction on the Center for Theatre & Dance is fully underway. BLDD Architects Inc. and CORE Construction are setting the stage for a revolutionary, transformational building rising from the site of the former Richards Treat University Center.

Currently, the project is on schedule. Despite the poor weather, construction crews have been able to make up time in other areas to offset the areas where work was slowed. A significant amount of steel was delivered and installed in December and this allowed the basement to be enclosed and heated for the pouring of concrete slab.

Pre-cast panels have been erected around the Center's theatre, and the remaining structural steel and trusses for that space are currently being installed. A crane will be shifted in the coming weeks to continue the steel frame installation.

Millikin University officially broke ground on the new Center for Theatre & Dance during a ceremony held on May 18, 2018. The new building will feature a 260-seat flexible theatre which includes an orchestra pit, balcony and tech gallery with a tension wire grid. The Center will also feature lighting and sound labs, a costume studio, a costume classroom, collaboration spaces, and offices and support facilities for current staff and room for growth.

Millikin's new Center for Theatre & Dance will also incorporate four acting studios, two dance studios, two design classrooms and practice rooms as well as all new modern theatre equipment and LED lights.

With a goal of completion by fall 2020, the Center will offer a centralized, focused location for creativity to be taught, fostered and displayed, and will also provide a new venue for Millikin performing arts to delight, inform and inspire audiences from throughout the region. 

Read more.

Be a part of Millikin's Momentum.


December 20, 2018: Coming Into Focus

It’s the end of a year. And the beginning of a new era. Millikin’s new Center for Theatre & Dance is coming into focus.

As this revolutionary building will begin to resemble architectural renderings in 2019, the Center for Theatre & Dance promises new advancements for creativity to be taught, fostered, and displayed. Please consider a gift of lasting legacy. Contributions made on or before Dec. 31 qualify for a 2018 tax deduction.

This is the moment. Millikin is the place.
You are the difference.

center construction

center construction

October 3, 2018: It’s Concrete

millikin center for theatre and dance

We’ve seen great progress on the construction for the Center for Theatre & Dance this fall. The first concrete was poured on Oct. 3, 2018. It’s exciting to see foundation walls take shape, as seen from images provided by Trustee Emeritus Dr. Steven Huss’ airplane.

Join us on social media via Facebook (MillikinUniversity and MillikinTheatreandDance), Twitter and Instagram (MillikinU), and YouTube (MillikinUniversity) to see more progress and construction updates.

Fundraising efforts are ongoing; make a gift today and be a part of building the foundation for the Center for Theatre & Dance.



June 22, 2018: You Did It, Again!

In May, we asked you to support the new Center for Theatre & Dance through the #BuildingOnDreams, Act II: I’m In! initiative.

The goal: 250 donors in 2 days, May 16-18.

The result: We exceeded our goal of 250 donors, securing the generous $10,000 challenge gift from MU Trustee Eric Zollinger ’97! Thanks to all of you who helped make this happen for SOTAD!

Your support of Millikin, the School of Theatre and Dance, and the new Center for Theatre & Dance is incredible. Together, our energy, love, and giving make the Center a reality for all of us.



April 7, 2017: Bravo! Bravo!

Thank You Video

April 3-7, we asked School of Theatre and Dance alumni, students and friends to support the new Center for Theatre & Dance through the #buildingondreams project.

The goal: 250 donors in just five days, April 3-7.

The result: 344 of you rose to the call, meeting a $10,000 anonymous matching challenge in doing so – and donations are still coming in. Today the total stands at more than $62,000. Flat out amazing. THANK YOU!

With your support, you made a strong statement about the critical need for a new building ASAP. And you clearly had some fun, as seen by the great response to the T&D faculty and staff video shenanigans of last week.

TELL YOU WHAT: We'll keep it up if you'll keep it up!




April 3, 2017: An Important Message from Eric Zollinger, Theatre & Dance Alumnus and Class of 1997

Eric Zollinger ’97Dear Millikin Theatre & Dance Alumni and Friends,

No more waiting ... with great enthusiasm I can share with you the news of the proposed Center of Theatre & Dance. In a re-imagination of the project, Millikin President Patrick WhiteProvost Jeff AperDean Laura Ledford, along with the Theatre and Dance faculty, have selected an architect to work with us on the project. The proposed re-imagination is a newly constructed building incorporating changes in the industry, and the conceptual designs have been approved by T&D faculty as meeting the needs for a growing School of Theatre and Dance. How exciting for a “NEW” building versus plans that repurpose existing space.

Millikin will finally have the facilities that match the caliber of education it provides.

It is no secret this has been a dream for past and current students for many years, which is why I believe fitting for this to be branded the Building On Dreams initiative. The above renderings are part of the initial proposal capturing the Millikin architecture aesthetic and amount of space needed.

This project is moving forward thanks to the Millikin alumni, friends and faculty/staff who have already committed more than $11 million to this project. We estimate the entire project can be completed for approximately $25 million. We will be pursuing major gifts from corporations, foundations, and other philanthropic individuals and organizations.

Starting April 3, we embark on the first Building on Dreams Initiative Challenge Week. We need to demonstrate the desire and support for this new project.

Our goal is 250 donations from Millikin alumni and friends between April 3-7.

It doesn’t matter the amount – the goal here is number of donors. This is our institution’s legacy; YOU are a part of that rich tradition and heritage!

  • Social Media: Spread the word about this campaign to your friends and fellow alumni.
  • Make a Gift: Every gift is important (e.g., $25, $50, $100, $10K!) and will get us closer to the goal. Feel free to donate now. The percentage of alumni donors, as well as the amount given, helps us to leverage bigger gifts. It will be a powerful message if we gain support from a high percentage of our School of Theatre and Dance alumni. Make a one-time or recurring gift now. All gifts are tax-deductible!
  • Make a Connection: Do you know of a foundation or philanthropic business interested in supporting worthwhile capital projects? Do you work for a company that offers matches for charitable giving? Check with your employer and/or contact Mandi Landacre Podeschi ’02, senior director of development at with questions, ideas, or matching gift notification.
  • Refer a Student: Millikin wants to continue attracting quality students for its internationally acclaimed T&D program and for Performance Learning in majors across the institution.
  • Stay in touch! Tell us your stories. Your successes make up our best arguments for raising support for the Center for Theatre & Dance, whatever your career. How did your Millikin experience prepare you for the path you are forging?

A Theatre and Dance Advisory Council has been created. This group of Millikin alumni, friends, trustees and faculty/staff will assist in communicating about the new building and consider ways to involve our alumni, friends and community in the process.

Your participation is needed and appreciated! We welcome your engagement in the process and ownership of seeing this plan through fruition. As a T&D alumnus, your representative on the Board of Trustees, and chair of the new Theatre and Dance Advisory Council, I want to make sure your voice is heard. If you have any questions, concerns or thoughts, please feel free to contact me at or 917.763.9079.

Go Big Blue!

Eric Zollinger ’97



Eric Zollinger ’97