Class of 2022 graduates from Millikin University
Class of 2022 honored at Millikin’s Winter Commencement
On Sunday, Dec. 11, Millikin University’s Class of 2022 graduates, along with their friends, families and loved ones gathered in Kirkland Fine Arts Center to celebrate the Winter Commencement ceremony. During the event, 119 degrees were conferred to undergraduate and graduate students.
“More than any other event at Millikin University, commencement has a very special symbolic significance. It’s the culmination of many years of hard work for our students and their families,” said Millikin President Dr. Jim Reynolds. “It is the end of an academic generation and the going forth of better-educated individuals who will help create a better society for all of us.”
During his introductory remarks, Reynolds added that at a moment of change such as college graduation, that many students search around themselves for proof that they are on the right path. “While we come together to recognize the collective efforts of so many, we also look for affirmation to let us know that we are on the right path; that we are good people and that things are going to work out. We need anchors in our lives,” he said, gesturing behind the graduates.
Prior to turning the podium over to the student speaker, Reynolds offered his perspective on what every graduate wants, both after graduation, and in life:
— Dr. Jim Reynolds, President
- We want to count. We want to know that somewhere in the big scoreboard of life, that we’ve been tallied and that we count.
Following a brief introduction by Provost Mary Black, this year’s undergraduate student speaker took the stage for her address “Always Learning.” Speaking on behalf of the Class of 2022 was Isabella Voss, graduating with a B.S. in management information systems, along with a minor in pre-law. While at Millikin, Voss served in leadership roles across many student organizations, including as president of Women in Business, vice president of the Tabor Student Advisory Council and senior consultant in Millikin University Performance Consulting.
Voss spoke to the history of Millikin University’s founder James Millikin, and his enterprising attitude toward learning, along with what that vision has created from 1901 to today. “Being students at Millikin, we have been given the great privilege to seek and learn as we please,” she remarked, discussing the diverse range of talented students she’s learned from, including musicians, athletes, programmers and entrepreneurs.
In the spirit of “Always Learning,” Voss said that every activity on Millikin’s campus is a learning experience. “Everywhere you go, whether it’s class, practice or the library, I guarantee we are always learning, sharing our skills, talents and disciplines with each other.” Voss concluded with advice to her fellow graduates and commencement audience members.
— Isabella Voss, Class of 2022
- Now is the time to give thanks for the Millikin experience. Our capacity to learn doesn’t stop here
This year’s commencement address was presented by Erica Melton, Class of 2005. Melton, director of finance and city treasurer for the cities of San Fernando and Los Angeles, Calif. Melton’s 15-plus years of career experience include tenure as a dedicated public financial and performance manager in various state, municipal and educational administrative roles.
White she was at Millikin, Melton was an active advocate for racial equity and inclusion initiatives as president of the Black Student Union and organizer of the Multicultural Roundtable.
During her address, Melton was lighthearted as she discussed her travel adventures and misadventures during the trip to Decatur to speak at Millikin. Her captivating stories led to the main point of her speech, which was the importance of standing in the moment. “Life passes us by so quickly that we forget to just stand in the moment,” she said.
— Erica Melton, Class of 2005
- As you take your stand on this stage, this is the opportunity to stand on the mountaintop of your achievement. It is your opportunity to really rake it in and use it as a life lesson for how you will take in the next achievement. There will be so many more, so we will use today to practice.
Melton also took the time to thank Millikin for its land acknowledgment at the beginning of the ceremony, which honored several native nations and their ancestral land upon which Millikin resides.
Melton’s lifelong role as an advocate for minorities and underserved populations led her to remind the graduating class to “have an understanding upon the ground which we stand.” She commented that throughout Millikin’s history since its founding in 1901, the moment the graduating class is experiencing is unique to them. “Feel your feet firmly on the ground and know that this moment was exquisitely and purposefully designed for you to be here today.”
Following Melton’s commencement address, the graduates and audience heard from the vice chairman of Millikin’s Board of Trustees, Ron Branch, who congratulated the Class of 2022 on their achievements. Representing Millikin’s Alumni Association Board, Lindsay Quick, Class of 2015, welcomed graduates to the organization.
Concluding the ceremony was Class of 2022 graduate Dalton L. Krum, who performed the official tassel ceremony, officially celebrating the futures of the Class of 2022 graduates.