2018 Building on Dreams, Act II: I’m In!

The moment has come when we can share this monumental update on the construction of the Center for Theatre and Dance!

As you read this email, the demolition of Richards Treat University Center is underway, preparing the site for Millikin’s new Center for Theatre and Dance. On Friday, May 18, at 10:30 a.m., a groundbreaking ceremony will set the stage for the construction of the new, state-of-the-art facility. Faculty and staff have worked diligently with architects to finalize floor plans and renderings. Construction will be fully underway in summer 2018 with a goal of completion by fall 2020. 

Last year, your generosity in our first Building on Dreams initiative helped to successfully kick-off this building campaign, and show that Millikin’s alumni, friends, faculty, staff, parents and trustees are all behind the effort to build a world-class facility on Millikin’s campus. 

So starting today, we embark on the Building on Dreams initiative, Act II: I’m In! Let’s keep up the momentum from last year, as we continue toward a goal of raising the final $5 million of the project. Our goal is to receive 250 donations* from the Millikin Community between May 16-17.

Give now


  • Social Media: Spread the word to your friends and fellow alumni. Follow the action on the School of Theatre and Dance Facebook page.
  • Make a Gift: Every gift is important ($25, $50, $100 or $10,000!). The size of your gift isn’t as important as making a gift — the goal here is donors willing to show their support of this project! The percentage of alumni donors, as well as the amount given, helps us leverage larger gifts, especially 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! 

Your participation is truly appreciated! Go Big Blue! 

Eric Zollinger, class of 1997
Trustee and chair, Center for Theatre and Dance Advisory Council 

Laura Ledford
Dean, College of Fine Arts 

* BONUS from Eric: If we reach our goal, I will make a $10,000 gift to the Building on Dreams, Act II initiative. Are you in? 

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney


For several years, the faculty, students and leadership of Millikin have nurtured a dream to create a much-needed, new Center for the nationally recognized School of Theatre and Dance. The time to dream is over.

An architect has been selected, the faculty have approved the conceptual design as meeting the needs of the School and its students, and Millikin President Patrick White and his cabinet are fully behind this project, calling it a priority. They are committed to making this project happen.

All that is needed is your commitment. The verbal and financial support of hundreds of T&D alumni speaks at a high volume when potential large donors are assessing the success of the program before pledging their dollars. And more money is needed before a shovel can go in the ground.

So, make a gift of ANY size today and help continue building on dreams. Thank you!

Give now!


2017 Campaign Updates



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 and 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!

New videos are already in the works. So, make a gift. Spread the word. Encourage others to support this project. With your help, this beautiful dream of a building becomes a reality.



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 and Dance. In a re-imagination of the project, Millikin President Patrick White, Provost Jeff Aper, Dean 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 Podeschi ’02, senior director of development at apodeschi@millikin.edu 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 and 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 ericznyc@mac.com or 917.763.9079.

Go Big Blue!

Eric Zollinger ’97



Eric Zollinger ’97