June 24, 2022 at 1:15pm
Mary Black, Provost

The 2021-2022 academic year began in a state of uncertainty. We planned for a safe return to in-person instruction last fall, but there were still many challenges as we continued to navigate social distancing, masking, vaccines and quarantines. This May, campus looks very different. Mask mandates have been lifted, large gatherings have returned, and we experienced a full house in Kirkland Fine Arts Center for spring commencement ceremonies. The challenges and uncertainties we’ve navigated as a campus and a community over the past year serve to make the successes and achievements of our students, faculty and staff more impressive. We have seen countless members of the Millikin family excel this year, achieving incredible levels of success in academics, scholarship artistry and athletics.

Performance Learning creates opportunities for students to put their learning into action across the disciplines, and to succeed in many different arenas. This spring, Millikin students returned to the Model Illinois Government Moot Court Competition, in which teams of student attorneys argue Illinois-Supreme-Court-level cases before panels of student justices and legal professionals. This year, senior philosophy major Collin Budd was honored as Most Outstanding Attorney, and our top team took second place overall.

Meanwhile, in the Tabor School of Business, Innovation Lab students under the mentorship of Dr. Jane Hua, assistant professor of entrepreneurship, are working with Thinkwell Maker Space in Decatur to invent and design innovative products to solve everyday problems using a customer-driven approach. With access to Thinkwell Maker Space’s 3D printers, CNC routers and laser cutters, students are building prototypes for products that do everything from removing every bit of peanut butter from the jar to preventing procrastination through a game-based device.

We had the opportunity this April to bring Celebration of Scholarship back to an in-person format, and to celebrate student successes from every discipline. It was an incredible culmination of student academic success this year, and yet still the work and the successes go far beyond the classroom.  

Outstanding live theatre, music and opera performances continued into May and 1901 Productions, Millikin’s student-run film production company, premiered their first feature-length film, “Sonder: and Anthology of Loss,” at the Lincoln Theatre. The students, faculty and staff, continue the work of teaching, learning, growing and achieving great things we could barely have imagined at the start of this academic year. I hope you enjoy the opportunity to read about just the start of those accomplishments in this edition.  

Mary Black Millikin University