Millikin University officially celebrated the newest building on campus, the Center for Theatre and Dance, with a livestream ribbon cutting event!

We apologize for the sound issues and have provided a transcript of the audio from the ribbon cutting below.

Video of the live tour with Mary Black.


A special message from Millikin President Emeritus Dr. Patrick E. White and his wife, Chris, on the new Center for Theatre & Dance.



Livestream Ribbon Cutting Transcript:

President Reynolds: Good morning, everyone. My name is Jim Reynolds, and I have the distinct pleasure of serving as president of Millikin University. It is my great privilege to welcome each one of you as you join us for this momentous occasion, the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Millikin’s Center for Theatre & Dance. To those of you who are joining us virtually, I also want to extend a warm welcome. I cannot wait for the future, when you are able to visit this outstanding new facility in person and be as astounded as we all have been by its features and potential. Until then, thank you for participating along with us this morning.

The Center for Theatre & Dance presents so many opportunities for the future of Millikin University. Already, our students and faculty are collaborating on creative, inspired art, even as the COVID-19 pandemic requires each one of us to embrace that creativity ourselves. Every day, we embody the spirit of this new facility as we look for new and innovative ways to deliver classes, performances and events in a manner that can be safely enjoyed by everyone while continuing to provide our students with the Performance Learning experiences they so richly deserve.

I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the dedicated members of Millikin University’s administration who have put so much effort into nurturing the growth of our campus in recent years. Under their leadership, we have been able to further expand our ability to provide our students with resources that will facilitate their success, and the important role they have played in the creation of the Center for Theatre & Dance is no exception. So, to these esteemed colleagues and friends, I would like to say thank you. Thank you for your encouragement, your enthusiasm, your distinguished service and the faithful stewardship of your time to this — and every! — project that helps to fulfill the mission of this great University.

That mission, and the driving force behind every one of its actions and beliefs, is to deliver on the promise of education as we prepare our students for professional success, democratic citizenship in a global environment, and personal lives of meaning and value. And yet, while this new Center is a tangible investment in the education, skills and careers of our students and faculty within our nationally recognized School of Theatre and Dance, it represents so much more than that.

It represents a mutual commitment of the University, Decatur and Macon County to make a difference in the lives of others. To foster strong appreciation of the fine and performing arts. To collaborate on innovative, revolutionary work. To provide our patrons with cultural experiences that create lasting change. And to celebrate the dedication, talent and discipline of the individuals who call Millikin and our broader community “home.”

So thank you again, and welcome to Millikin University’s Center for Theatre & Dance!  It is now my pleasure to read to you a message from Millikin President Emeritus Dr. Patrick E. White.

Message from Millikin President Emeritus Dr. Patrick E. White: 

Beloved Millikin Community: I join President Reynolds in extending my heartiest greetings to each of you today. Chris and I had planned to celebrate the Center for Theatre & Dance and its historic addition to Millikin University with you in person, but pandemic travel restrictions have made our return to campus impossible. While I am disappointed not to be standing alongside President Reynolds and other good friends for today’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, Chris and I are honored to join the ranks of individuals commemorating this event virtually. Like you, I look forward eagerly to the time when we can visit again Millikin’s beautiful campus; reconnect with you who were such a vital part of our life for the past seven years; and enjoy all that this extraordinary facility has to offer to students, faculty, staff, and community.

It is not often that we get to bear witness to dreams becoming reality. The tireless dedication of the donors and partners who supported this project have given each one of us that all-too-rare opportunity today. To the hundreds of donors who made the Center for Theatre & Dance possible, thank you for your extraordinary generosity and your commitment to bringing this exciting new chapter in Millikin’s history to life! To the Board of Trustees who made this project equal to our dreams, I thank you for your courage and belief in Millikin’s future. To the designers, architects, contractors, the faculty and staff in Theatre and Dance, on the Cabinet, and throughout the University, who worked so hard and with such care to construct this facility, thank you.  

Theatre and Dance are ancient arts depending on the collaboration of many good, generous, and brave people. We all thank the donors and partners who “joined the company” and played a pivotal role in providing the support that funded this dream to create this most recent act on the great stage that is Millikin’s campus. It has been your unwavering faith in the future of our University that has created this physical manifestation of the best imagination of Millikin.

While Performance Learning can be found at the heart of every part of the Millikin University experience, the Millikin commitment not only to knowing, but also to enthusiastically doing and critically reflecting, is seen profoundly within the School of Theatre and Dance. Millikin has long been nationally recognized for outstanding accomplishments in theatre and for collaborative and integrated efforts that prepare our students for professional success. Now, our students and faculty have a dedicated facility worthy of their great talent and highest ambitions, which will nurture their growth as they carefully hone their crafts of performance, direction, design, production and management. Thank you, Theatre and Dance students and faculty for inspiring all of us and for your contributions to making the world a better, more beautiful, more inclusive place.

We all take pride in Millikin alumni, not only for your profound accomplishments and steadfast support of your University, but even more so for your courage to be difference makers, your confidence to go out and tackle the world head on, to be nimble and flexible, even when life throws unexpected challenges your way. We all know this Center for Theatre & Dance will enrich the lives of our current and future students, faculty and staff and our entire community. May this day and this moment inspire us all with confidence. As we gather today and in days to come, I hope we gaze together on this wonderful building and all it means and say with pride, “Ah, there you are, Millikin.”

Yours in Millikin,

Pat White

President Reynolds: It is now my pleasure to introduce a loyal and dedicated friend of our University, Dr. Steve Huss. Dr. Huss has held many roles at Millikin. He is a trustee emeritus, served as co-chair of the Transform MU capital campaign steering committee, and has been a generous donor to this project. Dr. Huss, would you please come forward and say a few words?

Dr. Huss: Thank you, Dr. Reynolds. And thanks to all of you who have joined us today for this very special celebration. I served on Millikin’s Board of Trustees from 2004 through 2013, and it has also been my privilege to serve as co-chair of Transform MU. The campaign was envisioned as an opportunity to make truly transformational changes at Millikin, and in so doing, make transformational changes in the lives of our students. The final brick-and-mortar project funded by Transform MU is the Center for Theatre & Dance. One of the unique things about Millikin is its emphasis on Performance Learning, and this facility will indeed provide opportunities for our students like never before. It has long been Millikin’s mission to deliver on the promise of education. Now we can REALLY deliver on that promise with this building’s completion!

Just as our two esteemed presidents have done this morning, I wish to extend my thanks to all of the leaders who have been instrumental in not only bringing the Center for Theatre & Dance to fruition, but also for all they have done to support this fine institution in so many ways. In recognition of the generosity of everyone who has contributed to the success of Millikin, I want to thank you for investing in the future of our University and its students. Go Big Blue! 

Before I introduce the first two individuals who will participate in the ribbon cutting for the Center for Theatre & Dance, please allow me to introduce you to the two students who will be holding the ribbon during the ceremony, Ramsey Folkerts and Alex Saviano. Ramsey is a member of the Class of 2024 and is a musical theatre major, and Alex is a theatre major from the Class of 2022. Ramsey and Alex, won’t you please come forward and prepare the ceremonial ribbon? 

Our first two individuals who will be cutting the ribbon this morning do so in honor of all of the students, faculty, staff and administrators for whom this wonderful facility was designed. Through their leadership, it is our hope that the School of Theatre and Dance will continue its long history of success. I am pleased to introduce Laura Ledford, dean of the College of Fine Arts, and Mary Black, director of the School of Theatre and Dance. Laura and Mary, please come forward.

It is now my privilege to turn the podium over to Mary Black, who will conduct the remainder of the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Mary Black: Thank you so much, Dr. Huss. And thank you for your generosity, both to this project and in your service to Millikin. It is my pleasure to introduce the remaining individuals who will be participating in this morning’s ribbon cutting. To begin, I would like to reintroduce Dr. Jim Reynolds, Millikin’s president, along with Mrs. Sue Reynolds, our first lady. Dr. & Mrs. Reynolds, would you please come forward and participate in our ribbon cutting?

Thank you, Dr. & Mrs Reynolds. Next, I would like to introduce Dr. Joseph Schrodt, a member of Millikin University’s Board of Trustees, and Mrs. Ardith Schrodt. The Schrodts are faithful supporters of Millikin University and have generously given to the Center for Theatre & Dance. Dr. & Mrs. Schrodt, will you please step forward for the ribbon cutting?

Thank you so much, Dr. & Mrs. Schrodt. Finally, it is my pleasure to once more introduce Dr. Steve Huss, co-chair of Transform MU and Trustee Emeritus, and Carol Huss, member of the Class of 1970. Dr. and Mrs. Huss are some of Millikin’s most active supporters and have been generous donors to this project. Dr. and Mrs. Huss, will you please step forward to participate in our ribbon cutting?

Thank you, Dr. & Mrs Huss. And thank you, Ramsey and Alex, for your assistance this morning. With that, I am pleased to declare the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Millikin University’s Center for Theatre & Dance complete. On behalf of the College of Fine Arts, the School of Theatre and Dance, our students, faculty, staff and administration, and every individual impacted by the excellent creative work that will be fostered inside of this amazing new addition to Millikin’s campus, I extend my heartfelt thanks for your generosity and support. Have a wonderful day!