Millikin University celebrates new graduates at the 2023 Winter Commencement

Degrees were given to more than 80 students during the ceremony on Dec. 10.

DECATUR, Ill. – On Sunday, Dec. 10, Millikin University honored more than 80 graduates from the Class of 2023 with an in-person Commencement ceremony in the Kirkland Fine Arts Center.

Students from the College of Arts & Sciences, Professional Studies, Fine Arts and the Tabor School of Business took to the stage to receive undergraduate and graduate degrees in front of friends and family. 

The ceremony featured remarks from Millikin President Dr. Jim Reynolds and student speaker Kayla Green, who delivered a speech titled “More to Come.” 

Kayla Green
Kayla Green (right) shakes hands with Millikin President Dr. Jim Reynolds.

Kayla, who graduated with degrees in Criminal Justice, Sociology and Philosophy, spoke on why she chose to attend Millikin. 

“When I first spoke to my advisor (and former Millikin Criminal Justice faculty member) Keyria Rodgers, I told her I wanted to transform the criminal justice system and save the world, but I also genuinely wanted to understand and assess the needs of people,” Kayla said. “As lofty a goal that may have seemed, she and I worked to create a plan that ensured that this could happen. I was sold and bought into this idea. I was intrigued to see how Millikin would reach my dreams.”

Kayla quickly became a Millikin student-leader, serving as President of the Kappa Zeta Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and President of the Social Action Club. She also served as an EDGE Mentor and team captain on the Women’s Track and Field Team. After graduation, she plans to attend law school and continue her social justice goals. 

“You can and will accomplish any task you set your heart on. You may feel like a few pieces are missing, but when the time is right, you will recognize that you have everything you need to be successful,” Kayla said. “I have equipped myself with the resources that Millikin offers, and it has allowed me to be successful in my time here. However, life doesn’t stop here; it only marks the start of something new.”

Amy Kemp
Millikin Board of Trustees Amy Kemp speaks at Sunday's Commencement ceremony.

Millikin Board of Trustees member Amy Kemp, Class of 1999, delivered the Commencement Address titled “The Blue Thread” and shared the important Millikin connections in her life, which Amy has dubbed “Blue Threads.”

“My Millikin degree certainly prepared me for the world after college. However, the deeper, less obvious but more compelling value of my Millikin education has been the lasting relational ties that started when I was a student and continue to this day,” she said. “Students come to Millikin to master their subject matter, which is important, but more than that, Millikin is a space where Blue Threads can form, and these relationships teach us more than Biology, English, History or Philosophy. These Blue Threads teach us compassion, empathy, understanding and our world is a better place because of them."

Amy is the CEO of Amy Kemp, Inc. (, which helps leaders and business professionals understand how deeply thought habits impact every part of their work and lives. 


Millikin Chairman of the Board of Trustees Ronald Branch congratulated the new graduates, and Lexi Rogers, Class of 2016, welcomed the students as new members of Millikin’s Alumni Association. A performance of the Alma Matter concluded the ceremony. 


Congratulations to all the 2023 Winter Commencement graduates!