Tabor legacy alumni share their Millikin experience
In the Tabor School of Business, we always enjoy hearing and spreading the news of our alumni, as they take what they have learned at our institution and apply it to the working world. Today, we focus on legacy family stories.
Many generations of families have shared a special connection to both Millikin University in general and Tabor in particular. These legacy families are comprised of current students whose family members — whether parents, grandparents or siblings — also attended Millikin.
The Menke family is one of the many beloved Millikin legacy families. We spoke with two members of the extended Menke family who shared their common connections and love for Millikin, as well as their stories on how the Tabor School of Business played a vital role in their current careers with OFS Brands, the family's business.
Douglas "Doug" Shapiro ’04, regional vice president at OFS, shared with us how he fell in love with Millikin as a prospective student. "For me, it was all about the visit," Shapiro said. "I had the chance to walk the campus and meet some of the business faculty. There was an authenticity in the interactions and experiences I had there that felt right."
Millikin's flexible curriculum options and dynamic classes with study abroad opportunities allow its students to have a vibrant college experience that forges global connections. Shapiro cited a class focused on Gandhi and the opportunity to travel with classmates to the Dominican Republic as unforgettable experiences that later influenced his professional success.
The dedicated instruction Shapiro received from faculty who challenged him to actively engage in his education left an impression on him. "I can remember my first teachers at Millikin asking us to challenge what we were learning ... to be critical of the authors we were reading — something I never heard before at the age of 18," Shapiro said.
Cory Menke ’05, vice president of operations at OSF, indicated that the size of the University and the student-faculty ratio were important factors in his decision to attend Millikin. "I did not want to get caught up in 100-to-1 ratio classrooms and not develop a personal connection to my classmates and faculty," Menke said. "At Millikin, I achieved this goal by meeting some friends for life and learning from teachers who still impact me today."
Menke said that the family ties forged at Millikin through his father (alum Robert "Hank" Menke Jr. ’74, chief executive officer of OFS and emeritus MU Board of Trustees member, serving from 1995 to 2005) also created a positive influence for him to settle at the University and embrace the life of a student-athlete. He played both football and baseball for MU, developing lifelong friends and creating many memories.
Like Shapiro, Menke had the opportunity to study abroad, spending a semester in Melbourne, Australia, something he credits as one of the most impactful experiences of his lifetime.
Shapiro and Menke both credit Millikin with fueling them with a passion for challenging the status quo. Their successes post-graduation are an indication of their commitment to doing just that. We are proud of all of our Tabor alumni who have taken what they have learned in the classroom and are using it in their careers to make a difference in the world.