Millikin University Mural Repainting Project Brightens Campus

First-year Big Blue student Morgan Potter led the painting work, which helped her earn the Girls Scout’s Gold Award.

Millikin Mural

DECATUR, Ill. – While Millikin University President Jim Reynolds spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new David J. and Debra C. Rathje Athletic Center, another Millikin improvement project had just concluded. 

Just behind President Reynolds, the Millikin mural on the south end of Frank M. Lindsay Field had recently been repainted by first-year Millikin Exploratory Studies major Morgan Potter. 

Millikin Mural
Millikin University President Jim Reynolds speaks at the groundbreaking for the David J. and Debra C. Rathje Athletic Center. 

The service project was part of the requirements Morgan had to complete to become a Gold Award Girl Scout, the highest award earned in Girl Scouting. The 80-hour-plus project was originally going to be completed by the Alpha Phi Omega (APO) fraternity, but Morgan volunteered to take it over.  

“The mural was looking pretty faded and was peeling in many places and it was time to repaint it. I said I could do this project for them and that worked for them,” Morgan said. 

Millikin Mural
Morgan (left) and MeLinda Potter (right) led he Millikin mural repainting project.

Morgan and her mother MeLinda Potter ’01, Millikin’s Director of Operations and Prospect Research for Alumni & Development, spent most of the time on the project with friends and volunteers pitching in when they could. Their goal was to have it ready for the Sept. 13 groundbreaking ceremony.

“At any time, it would be my mom and I, and the highest number of helpers we had at one time was seven. It took about three weeks, working whenever we could because we wanted to get it done for the groundbreaking,” Morgan said. 

It had been several years since the mural had received a fresh coat of paint and when the paint scraping started, Morgan found some surprises. 

Millikin Mural
Millikin's Morgan Potter scrapes some paint off the mural. 

“There was one mural that we could see and as we were scraping, there were about three more murals underneath that we didn’t know about. We were getting way more paint off than we thought there was under there,” she said. “We took a chisel to it and made it look worse. We knew it would get worse before it got better because we had to peel up all the bubbling paint so it wouldn’t come off with the new mural on top.”

Millikin Mural

Since completing the project, Morgan received word that she officially earned the Gold Award. She also made some history, becoming the first girl in the Decatur area to earn the Gold Award in Girl Scouts and the Scouting BSA Eagle Scout Rank. 

Said Morgan: “I’m really happy that we did it and we were able to get it done for this ceremony. Every time I walk by it, I’m thrilled that we could do this.”