December 11, 2019 at 10:45am

Alumni Association Board logo
Quarterly Report: July-September 2019

The mission of the Millikin University Alumni Association Board is to establish and enhance the bond between alumni and the University.

The new Board year began in July when the executive committee met on campus to establish goals and plan action steps for 2019-20. In early August, Millikin alumni volunteered in the Wine & Beer Garden at the Decatur Celebration and passed out “Proud MU Alum” buttons. We’d love for you to join us next summer when the Celebration continues July 31-Aug. 2, 2020.
In late September, the Board met on campus during Homecoming & Family weekend 2019: Go Big & Come Home. Festivities began with the Alumni Awards on Friday night, Sept. 27, 2019. Each year, the Alumni Association Board presents five awards to recognize the accomplishments of Millikin alumni at different life stages. Award recipients accept their award at a dinner in front of their family, friends and other alumni. Millikin president, Dr. Patrick White and Alumni Association Board President Trevor May ’16/MBA ’17 presented the 2019 awards: Young Alumnus to Dian Romonosky ’11, Loyalty to James “Jim” Neff ’78, Merit to Sarah Smith-Raschen ’98, Merit-Loyalty to Terry Peel ’68, and Co-Alumnus of the Year to Don McIntyre ’52 and Nancy Todd McIntyre ’53. Nominations for Homecoming 2020 are open now through April 1.
The Board met in University Commons on Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, and approved seven strategic goals for 2019-20. These goals are in alignment with the Alumni & Development Office, as stated in the Memorandum of Understanding:
  • Develop and implement a first-time donor engagement program.
  • Develop and foster a new affinity group and/or giving circle for nursing and the sciences.
  • Identify significant initiatives for last-stretch Center of Theater & Dance fundraising.
  • 100% Board giving.
  • Convene a focus group of athletic-minded alumni to assist Alumni & Development with their fundraising plan for the Athletic Facilities Expansion and Renovation initiative.
  • Develop a value-add webinar series of estate planning by leveraging alumni in the field.
  • Create infrastructure and develop a charter for regional alumni groups to thrive and achieve a minimum of five groups.
In addition to goal setting, the Board welcomed updates from Tabor School of Business Dean Dr. Najiba Benabess, College of Fine Arts Dean Laura Ledford, Provost Dr. Jeff Aper (representing College of Arts & Sciences and the College of Professional Studies), Vice President of Alumni & Development Gina Bianchi ’93 and President Dr. Patrick White.

Tabor School of Business

Enrollment is increasing. Dr. Najiba Benabess is inviting businesses from around the country to visit Millikin. Internship opportunities are sought locally, nationally, and internationally for Millikin students. Does your place of business have a summer internship for college students? If so, we ask you to introduce your human resources department to Dean Benabess, dean, who would like to be a resource for your company and build a mutually beneficial relationship. Contact Dr. Najiba Benabess at or call 217.424.6344. Sharing network is one of the ways alumni can give to Millikin by helping current Millikin students transition to the workforce in the form of summer internship opportunities.

College of Fine Arts

The biggest news is ongoing construction of the new Center for Theater & Dance building, scheduled to open in fall 2020. Cross-disciplinary learning is an outstanding quality of Millikin as exemplified​ with the addition of two new majors: Arts Administration and Arts Technology. Also new this fall is the immersion course, Tour: Smart Bus Edition, where students get to join a real live rock tour. Follow Millikin on social media for updates from the road.

College of Arts & Sciences

Enrollment is up in math, physics and biology majors after faculty driven STEM recruiting. “Natural sciences at Millikin are one of the best kept secrets in the Midwest,” stated Provost Dr. Jeff Aper. A Criminal Justice major has been added with grant funds in conjunction with Teen Justice in Macon County. Clinical Psychology is another new major where students work rotations at hospitals. These new majors build on Millikin’s strengths and serve the larger community.

College of Professional Studies

Exercise Science and Sport has newly renovated teaching and lab space. Students work with both Decatur Memorial Hospital and St. Mary’s. The School of Nursing is in need of new simulation mannequins. There are 206 nurses in training and that number increases to 275 including graduate students.

Alumni & Development

The Workman Family Baseball Field is built and dedicated. The Center for Theater & Dance building is on budget and on schedule. Griswold will be 50 years old next year. Phase One of fundraising for is the Athletic Facilities Expansion and Renovation initiative in the preliminary stages.
President Dr. Patrick White began by thanking the Board for our work, leadership, and our devotion to the university and to our fellow alumni. Then President White challenged the Board, and the whole Alumni Association, to give financially by saying, “Try to imagine what we could do if more people gave anything.” Every little bit helps. Alumni have a responsibility to give of their time, talent, treasure, network and voice to move this university forward. President White said, “I’m very, very proud of Millikin. As you know, I am retiring next year.” The timeline for the presidential search, updates from the presidential search committee and a community input form are available on the presidential search website.
Through cooperative efforts with the Alumni & Development Office, the Board fosters fellowship among alumni, encourages alumni support for and service to the University, and assists students in the transition to alumni status. The Millikin University Alumni Association Board is made up of 21 members: Trevor May ’16/MBA ’17, president; Heather Wells Giannino ’05, vice president; Ted Bliefnick ’04, board development; Jason White ’00, treasurer; Janean Thompson Baird ’93, secretary; Paul Lidy ’04, past president;  Robert Arn ’10; Joe Havis ’04; Bruce Jeffery ’07; Erica Melton McAdoo ’05; Josh Miller ’18; Sue Vaughan Nelson ’66; Laura Peete ’14; Claudia Nichols Quigg ’75; Kyle Risby ’09; Lauren Bringman Rodenbarger ’10; Mirinda Rothrock ’04; Morgan Trump Schaab ’11; Lindsay Senalik ’04; Angelica Balsamo Sohlberg ’05 and Alyse Knust, Alumni & Development Office liaison.
As the second quarter begins, we look ahead to GivingTuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. Consider making your best possible gift to Millikin University before the end of the year at where you can choose what area your gift will support.

We’d love to hear from you!

If you’d like to assist the Board in accomplishing our 2019-20 goals and/or have an interest in joining the Alumni Association Board in the future, contact Board President Trevor May at